President Ali holds high-level talks with US officials on energy, LCDS, food security

…strengthened bilateral relations between Guyana & US also discussed

President Dr Irfaan Ali, accompanied by a high-level Cabinet team, on Monday met with a delegation led by two visiting United States (US) Government officials at State House, where energy and food security and the transformative Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) were among the topics on the agenda.

From left: US Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch, President Ali, Special Advisor for the Western Hemisphere from the Office of US Vice President, Joseph Salazar and Deputy Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Taylor

According to the Office of the President, the US delegation was headed by Joseph Salazar, Special Advisor for the Western Hemisphere from the Office of US Vice President, Kamala Harris; and Michael Taylor, Deputy Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Office of Caribbean Affairs.
It was explained that during the meeting, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government’s commitment to democracy was also discussed. Meanwhile, a follow-up meeting is expected at a subsequent date, to discuss PACC 2030 – an initiative launched by Vice President Harris last year to improve cooperation between the US and Caribbean countries.
“The meeting included discussions on food, energy and climate security and Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy. Discussions also focused on the Government’s commitment to democracy and strengthening bilateral relations between Guyana and the United States of America.”

President Dr Irfaan Ali during discussions

“Salazar and Taylor are expected to meet again with Government officials, business leaders and key stakeholders to discuss topics of mutual interest including the US-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030 (PACC 2030),” the Government further explained.
The US delegation also included US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch; Deputy Chief of Mission Adrienne Galanek and Chief of the Political and Economic Department of the US Embassy, Brian Hall.
Meanwhile, members of Guyana’s Cabinet who attended the meeting include Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo; Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips; Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony; Public Works Minister Juan Edghill; Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal; Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister, Oneidge Walrond; and Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai.
Also attending the meeting were the Minister within the Housing and Water Ministry, Susan Rodrigues; Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud and Director of Presidential Affairs Marcia Nadir-Sharma.
In June 2022, Vice President Harris launched PACC 2030 and since then the United States has been working with Caribbean nations to develop wide-ranging, long-term energy security and climate resilience solutions.
Since the Summit of the Americas, Vice President Harris has met with six Caribbean Heads of State, including President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, building on the United States partnership with Caribbean governments in defence of our shared values, and to improve Caribbean resilience in all aspects – economic, security, and democracy.
During a follow-up meeting in September 2022, President Ali and several Caricom leaders met VP Harris in Washington to further discuss the commitments they made at the Summit of the Americas last June to partner with the Region to promote energy security, access to finance, and food security in the Caribbean – three areas that the leaders identified as their top priorities.
President Ali is the lead on agriculture and food security in the Caricom quasi-Cabinet. He is also co-chairing the US-Caricom-Dominican Republic Sub-Committee on Food Security and Agriculture – one of three committees established during the 2022 Summit.
Consequently, the Guyanese leader used the opportunity last September to lobby the United States Government for some US$25 million in assistance to further push the food security and agriculture agenda in the Caribbean, especially among specific groups such as women and youths.
This request is in addition to US$28 million that the United States Government already injected for short-term activities aimed at supporting an increase in food production and further improving agriculture in a Region. This assistance is one of the pledges made by the US under the new “Zero Hunger Caribbean Plan” to address the Region’s urgent food security needs. Other interventions include mobilisation of experts to explore biofertiliser production as well as developing operational logistics and supply chain models to streamline intraregional trade, among others.
Moreover, the September meeting also saw an agreement to tackle intraregional trade barriers and those that exist with the US. The leaders also discussed at length, research and development extension services and investment opportunities in agriculture and food production systems within Caricom itself.
With regards to energy security, talks surrounded an integrated energy plan in which the Caricom leaders proposed a joint approach to ensure regional sustainability in the energy mix and energy framework that includes natural gas, fossil fuel, and renewables.
Meanwhile, on the access to finance end, the issue of dealing with the debt crisis, post-COVID recovery, and financing for mitigation were among the issues that the regional leaders and US Vice President had substantial discussions on.
The Biden-Harris Administration has committed to continue work to expand access to US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) financing for private sector-led projects in the Caribbean. (G3)