Ambergris Caye, Belize—(March 1, 2022) His Excellency Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali received high praises today from the Prime Minister of Belize, the Honourable John Briceño, for his commitment to transforming the regional agri-food systems.

During the opening remarks at the 33rd Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government which is being held in Ambergris Caye, Belize, the new Chair of CARICOM said that under President Ali’s stewardship, there has been substantial progress.

“I must commend His Excellency Irfaan Ali, the President of Guyana, for his leadership and personal commitment to transforming the regional agri-food system. The Special Ministerial Task Force on Food Production and Food Security has already made substantial progress to identify priorities, commodities, levels of investment required and policy reforms needed against a timeline.”

Guyana holds lead responsibility for agriculture, agricultural diversification, and food security in CARICOM and is spearheading the regional body’s quest of reducing its US$5b food importation bill.

The CARICOM Chair reminded that the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is at the centre of the Region’s integration while he charged the leaders present to redouble efforts to complete the removal of the remaining barriers to inter-regional trade, empower the private sector and give full effect to the regime for free movement, including by addressing administrative obstacles.

The CSME, he asserted, is the answer to the questions of how to reduce the region’s food import bill, of how to generate economic growth and how we improve and benefit more from trade with extra-regional partners.

“A robust CSME is indispensable to building resilient economies. It is central to our economic recovery. Integration binds together our community and this community is at its core—family.”

The Guyanese Head of State is joined by the Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Zulfikar Mustapha; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Honourable Hugh Todd; Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud and other government officials.