Last weekend, Export Barbados and the Ministry of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology hosted a high-level delegation from the Co-operative Republic of Guyana to discuss the establishment of a Gold Exchange on the island. The initiative is an offspring of the Barbados-Guyana Accord.
The Accord seeks to create a model of cooperation for the region, built on enhanced trust that cuts through bureaucracy to allow the people of both countries to benefit from an expanded program of collaboration.
The Hon Oneidge Walrond, M.P., Minister of Tourism, Industry, and Commerce, led the Guyana delegation. It included Dr. Peter Ramsaroop, Chief Executive Officer, Go-Invest, and Ms. Sharon Roopchand-Edwards, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism. The Barbados delegation was led by Hon. David Ishamel M.P., Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology and included Hon. Sandra Husbands M.P., Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Business Development; Ms. Alphea Wiggins, Special Envoy to Suriname and Guyana; H.E. David Comissiong, Ambassador to CARICOM; Mr. Wayne Marshall, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology; Mr. Mark Hill, CEO of Export Barbados and other senior officers from Export Barbados, Invest Barbados and the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport.
In welcoming the delegation to a business meeting at Bagnall’s Point Gallery that included a tour of Pelican Village and the Export Barbados headquarters on Saturday, Minister Ishmael, speaking of industry, said, “we must always do so within the ever-present context of climate change. The greening of our economies is fundamental for our very survival. Thus, our efforts to explore joint opportunities for the energy sectors in Barbados and Guyana must be pursued with an unwavering view towards sustainability”. He further told the delegation that he was encouraged to see consideration of “Green Bonds” and renewable energy projects within the scope of the sectoral collaborations.
CEO of Export Barbados, Mark Hill, gave a presentation on the concept of the Gold Exchange as a model for the Caribbean. He said that Export Barbados was working to leverage the brand based on three strategic pillars of safe, savvy and sustainable products. Referring specifically to the Gold Exchange, he said it must be secure and have a good design. Hill said that his vision for the Exchange goes beyond retail, to the development of new technologies for mining and the introduction of new precious stones.
In her response, Minister Walrond said that the mission was to address the facilities for the jewelers and the access to displaying their goods. She explained that the interest shown at an initial meeting held with some of the main jewelers in Guyana was high. Minister Walrond added that the mission would help answer some of the concerns raised regarding the project moving forward.
The Minister also told the delegation that her ministry includes the National Bureau of Standards, which focuses on quality assurance. She said, “rest assured that whatever Barbados indicates is the quality of jewelry and standards, that it is something that we will readily be able to comply with”.
A tour of the shops at Pelican followed, including Native Caribbean and Glass Creation Inc. The delegation also visited the Barbados Port Inc. Business and social meetings were held on Sunday at the Hilton Barbados Hotel, and the Guyanese delegation departed on Monday, March 21.