US-Caribbean Relations in Biden Administration Year 1


In this webinar, panelists examined US policy towards the Caribbean during the first year of the Biden Administration, with a focus on notable issues in need of attention and the opportunity to discuss these issues when the US hosts the Summit of the Americas in June 2022


Sir Ronald Sanders

Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United States and the Organization of American States

Download the Working Paper presented by Sir Ronald Sanders here.


Dr. Samantha S.S. Chaitram 

Research Manager, Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and Fellow, Caribbean Policy Consortium

Ms. Jacqueline Charles

Caribbean Correspondent, The Miami Herald

Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.

Senior International Policy Advisor, Arnold & Porter


Dr. Georges A. Fauriol

Senior Associate, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and Fellow, Caribbean Policy Consortium

Latest Webinars

Transforming Guyana, Episode VIII: Investment Security in Guyana

Transforming Guyana Episode VIII: Investment Attraction & Retention and the Importance of Protection, Regulations, and the Business Environment in Guyana

Media Advisory

View full webinar here


Patricia Francis

Patricia Francis, Chairperson of Trade Facilitation Task Force & fmr Executive Director ITC, fmr President JAMPRO


  • “Certainly with respect to the regional artists, I think this is probably one of the most important of this opportunity of Guyana. I think Guyana’s very small population cannot actually grow in this on a global basis unless they somehow integrate into the region, and by that I don’t only mean CARICOM I also mean South America because as things begin to transform and move there is going to be need for the industry to come out and [speak] about can it live on 800,000 people or does it need to expand into other markets.”
  • “Any of the industries that you’re talking about […] the infrastructure to support those and the kind of ecosystem on which you build those industries is going to be critical and important, so once you start talking about producing for a global market you’ve got to think about how [you’re] going to move those goods or how you’re going to move those goods by sea or by air.”
  • “I think also again the local content act recognizes this to a large extent, but I think the government has certainty that this is going to be a moving target as they build capacity, both huge physical and also institutional in order to support industries as they move forward.”
Komal Samaroo

Komal Samaroo, Executive Chairman of Demerara Distillers Limited


“Because we did not have a competitive environment, local production became a challenge, we could not compete against imports coming in, the cost of power, the shortage of skills, the lack of capital. I believe that with the situation where power cost is going to come down, infrastructure is being put in place and where there is more availability of capital, I think companies are looking to invest in areas that result in products that previously were imported can be available locally.”

Scott MacDonald

Scott MacDonald, Caribbean Policy Consortium, and Chief Economist at Smith’s Research & Gradings


“Guyana is definitely on the map for foreign investment, it is attracting it within Latin America and we’re talking about a country with less than a million people. Guyana came in seventh in 2021 in terms of foreign investment. For a small country on the shoulder of South America, Guyana in many regards is punching above its weight.”

“It’s key to have awareness of what’s going on in the global economy, where you are, and in other words to put it mildly don’t get cocky Guyana. You’ve had a lot of success, you’ve moved ahead, you’re transforming the economy, you’re getting a socio-economic facelift but don’t get cocky about it because we live in a very competitive world.”

“As we’re doing the great energy shift globally, it’s critical Guyana moves to develop non-fossil fuels sectors, that goes from small medium-sized enterprises, offshore office centers, BPOs, the whole range of industry; but there’s no reason why Guyanese companies can’t issue forth from Guyana.”

“There’s a shopping list that goes with the vision thing for Guyana, that is the policy mix of improving education, development of human capital is critical, diversification from non-oil sectors, promotion of foreign direct invest but also promotion of local investment. We want to see a more competitive private sector in Guyana and I think that’s very critical.”

“Guyana’s transformation is definitely in motion, it has critical momentum, but the trick going forward is how do you keep the momentum, how do you keep those reforms going and how do you main the consensus in Guyanese society that this is the vision of where we want to go. I think the prospects are very good for Guyana, but there’s a lot of challenges that sit here.”

Andrew Schnitzer da Silva

Andrew Schnitzer da Silva, CCO, Ascending Ltd., Workforce, Marine, Technical Training and Procurement


  • “What I see happening in Guyana is in a way much different from what I saw happening in the beginning of the century in Angola and what I am experiencing right in Mozambique, there is willingness to transform and to create better ways to attract investors, but at the same time I feel that on the ground there is still a lack of understanding of the huge impact that this discovery can entail. There is still not a clear understanding of all the requirements and of all the efforts that need to be made in order to attract foreign investment.”
  • “There is some sense of fear that maybe the foreign investors are going to keep the whole ‘gold’ in the gold rush, so there is also still some weariness into how to accept and to how to collaborate with foreign investors coming. It is difficult to penetrate and I think that happens naturally.”
  • “Guyana does have a small population, does have a huge task ahead of itself and it could profit a lot from creating collaborative ways of investing in developing its infrastructure, in developing its resources, and in looking at digging up the ‘gold’ a lot quick than it will be able to do by wanting to do it by itself.”


David Lewis

David Lewis, Vice President, Manchester Trade Ltd. Inc. & Co-Chair, Caribbean Policy Consortium


“So there’s that risk and that danger that all this focus on the oil and gas crowds out the reality of the need to do the basic day-to-day homework of modernizing the economy, streamlining bureaucratic and regulatory procedures, and really get beyond and overcome still what I would call ‘hangover’ of the 60s and 70s and that state-controlled period. The view that there’s nothing good about what has been the experience of Guyana with foreign investors. I think you know that is still a work in progress and to the degree that we can begin to focus more on some of these new success stories beyond oil and gas.”

Terrence Blackman

Terrence Blackman, Founder, Guyana Business Journal

Transforming Guyana Episode VII, Guyana’s Indigenous peoples and the Emerging Oil & Gas Economy

The Guyana Business Journal (GBJ) & Caribbean Policy Consortium (CPC) present Episode Seven of their Webinar Series, Transforming Guyana.

DATE: Wednesday, December 14, 2022

TIME: 10:30 AM EST

In Episode Seven, Dr. Blackman, Dr. Lewis, and their guests explore Guyana’s emergence as a Petrostate and its implications for Guyana’s Indigenous Communities.

Please register and join us for an informative and insightful conversation.


Valerie Garida Low
Valerie Garida Low, Former Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs
Sydney Allicock
Sydney Allicock, Former Vice President, Guyana & Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs
Florence Alexi Larose
Florence Alexi Larose, Consultant |Sustainable Development| Community Building| Rural Development| Indigenous Peoples|
Trevon Baird
Trevon Baird, Lecturer, Department of Language and Cultural Studies, University of Guyana.

Charlene Wilkinson
Charlene Wilkinson, Lecturer, Department of Language and Cultural Studies, University of Guyana.


David Lewis
David Lewis,Vice President, Manchester Trade Ltd. Inc. & Fellow, Caribbean Policy Consortium
Terrence Blackman
Terrence Blackman, Founder, Guyana Business Journal

Latest Webinars

US-Caribbean Relations: From Trade to Economic Partnership

This Wednesday, November 30, the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC), in collaboration with the Caribbean Policy Consortium(CPC), will host the webinar “US-Caribbean Relations: From Trade to Economic Partnership.” 

In this webinar, Ambassador Dr. Richard L. Bernal, OJ will present on the current status of US-Caribbean trade and prospects for the future with analysis from experts in the public and private sectors.

 Panelists will examine how the existential crisis of CARICOM requires a wholistic approach by the U.S. which integrates economic, security and environmental aspects in a self-reinforcing program. 

DATE: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 

TIME: 10:00-11:30 am EST  

Live webinar via Zoom  

Free and open to the public but registration is required.  



Ambassador Dr. Richard L. Bernal, OJ 

Professor of Practice, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, University of the West Indies, Jamaica and Fellow, Caribbean Policy Consortium (CPC) 


Andrea M. Ewart, Esq. 

Attorney and Founder, DevelopTradeLaw, LLC and Fellow, CPC 

Eric B. Wolff 

Regional Senior Commercial Officer, Caribbean Region, U.S. Commercial Service, US Embassy Santo Domingo 


Dr. Anthony Pereira 

Director, LACC, Florida International University (FIU) 

With a special emphasis on the English-speaking Caribbean, the LACC/CPC Caribbean Policy Series includes four webinars for the 2022-2023 academic year with experts from the Greater Caribbean region, moderated by FIU faculty and CPC members, and a series of policy-oriented papers addressing economic, political, and strategic matters in the region that will be published electronically as part of the LACC Caribbean Working Paper Series. The LACC/CPC Caribbean Policy Series is part of LACC’s renewed commitment to expand programming related to the English-speaking Caribbean, a sub-region with phenomenal human capacities, strong democratic institutions and incredibly rich socio-cultural and environmental diversity. 

The Haitian Conundrum: Challenges and Opportunities

The University of the West Indies Institute of International Relations (IIR) in collaboration with the Caribbean Policy Consortium (CPC) and the H-Empire of the H-Net invite you to a webinar entitled “THE HAITIAN CONUNDRUM: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

DATE: Thursday, December 8, 2022

TIME: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. AST

To register, click “Register Today ” in the attached flyer, or select Ctrl and click, or copy and paste the following link into your browser:


Professor Ivelaw Griffith

Fellow, Caribbean Policy Consortium


Dr. Sabine Manigat

Research and Lecturer in Political Science and Sociology,

Quisqueya University, Port au Prince, Haiti

Jacqueline Charles

Haitian Journalist, Miami Herald

Ambassador Colin Granderson

Former CARICOM Assistant Secretary General

Foreign and Community Relations

Dr. Georges Fauriol

Fellow, Caribbean Policy Consortium

Transforming Guyana, Episode VI:Guyana’s role in a world that still needs oil

Media Advisory:

The Caribbean Policy Consortium (CPC) & Guyana Business Journal (GBJ)  invite you to Episode VI of Transforming Guyana: Guyana’s role in a world that still needs oil: Domestic and regional energy security and the USA CESI

You can view the entire presentation here


 Roger Kranenburg, Vice President, Energy Strategy and Policy, Eversource; Anthony Bryan, Senior Fellow , Institute of International Relations UWI, St.; Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago; Dax Driver, CEO & President, Energy Chamber of Trinidad & Tobago; Lorraine Sobers, Lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering Petroleum Studies Unit, University of the West Indies; and Bobby Gossai, Jr., Senior Petroleum Coordinator, Petroleum Management Programme, Ministry of Natural Resources, Guyana.


  • Anthony Bryan:
    • “The country has a problem with ethnic rivalry but I think oil and possibly gas may be the glue that brings the ethnic groups together rather than dividing them.”
    • “Trying to do too much too quickly and promising too much too quickly is probably going to fall short… Everything doesn’t have to be built in a day, it can take time. It should be well-planned and well-structured. Do not focus just on immediate problems, but look at opportunities long-term.”
    • “CARICOM nations are still very minor contributors to global carbon footprint and climate change, and in 2030 they are continuing fossil fuel production as a funding pathway to renewable energy. So, oil and gas are playing a key role in this economy as they invest incremental portions of their revenue from oil and gas into renewable and sustainable energy in order to meet their renewable goals in 2030.”
  • Roger Kranenburg:
    • “Use this benefit you have today, definitely make the best use out of it but work to develop a diversified economy. Economies that are just dependent on resources are tough economies to run effectively even if they are very wealthy. Take this gift and invest it for the future.”
    • “Fossil energy is here to stay for some time, but the world is very focused on a decarbonized future and getting there as best as we can, and for society I think it’s a good thing.”
    • “Guyana has a very bright future in leveraging what’s a essentially a waste product or limited valued product, in the associated gas in those fields. My personal view is economically it doesn’t make a lot of sense for Guyana to invest in refining, these are global markets and you pick what you’re playing in that market. Oil goes to the global market and the current volumes of gas and where it’s located, that’s tough to put on the global market, it may change in the future but right now that gas is a low-value commodity so [instead] bring that to shore.”
    • “I’m a strong supporter of it [gas-to-shore] and would very much like to see Guyana move forward in that project. It may seem expensive but if you play out Guyana’s future, it could be such a prosperous future and the expense will be nominal compared to the benefits that can be derived.”
    • “In the renewables future, if you’ve got a system that’s run off of gas, it actually makes it very much able to integrate renewables effectively. A renewable I find very exciting for Guyana is solar. I think it’s an extremely bright future for the country.”
  • Lorraine Sobers:
    • “Electricity is an important part of energy security and they’re intrinsically linked because the cost of energy effects every facet of our modern society, linked to power generation and also the transportation.”
    • “The good news is Guyana has begun taking steps to move from that state of energy insecurity by becoming a net exporter of crude and low-carbon development strategy [which includes] the gas-to-power and renewable energy.”
    • “Guyana really needs reliable power generation and distribution, it’s critical to so many services. In the next decade, we’re looking at increased demand, decarbonizing of the power generation, digitalization, infrastructure and its ability to withstand extreme weather events with climate change.”
    • “Guyana’s power sector has to be reconfigured to meet demand to facilitate the input of multiple renewable energy producers. Multiple producers and variable renewable energy sources would ensure that there’s resilience built into the system so that we have energy security.”
  • Dax Driver:
    • “There is a fight for investment dollars within the major oil and gas producers, there’s a big fight that goes on within those companies about where there capital is going to be allocated, the companies are weary about where’ they’re allocating capital because of climate change and the push for net-zero. They’ve become very disciplined about their capital allocations because of this concern about the long-term demand for oil and gas.”
    • “Clearly Guyana has been up till now highly attractive, that’s partly because of the structure of the production sharing agreement which is in place.”
    • “Another thing I would also emphasize is the speed of development, it’s unprecedented how fast Exxon and their partners have gone in working with the government of Guyana from a find to production. This has happened much faster than elsewhere, and that speedy development adds huge value to the resources of a country.”
  • David Lewis:
    • “This is all about as Roger mentioned, providing the best available public goods to the population. We all talk about people saying, oh, let’s look at Sweden and Finland and say, Well, you know, that’s what they did. They maximize and monetize these resources, made them available as investments, not expensive investments in public goods, health, water, electricity, education and so on. And that then drove innovation, innovation drives development, development provides stability and stability provides reliability, resilience and sustainability. So at the end of the day, what good is having all these resources if you do not provide more and better public goods?”


Terrence Blackman, Ph.D., Founder & CEO Guyana Business Journal

Dr. David E. Lewis, Fellow and Co-Chair, Caribbean Policy Consortium

Latest Webinars

Caribbean Energy Security: Challenges and Opportunities

This webinar was jointly hosted by Global Americas ( and the Caribbean Policy Consortium ( featuring regional experts on the state of energy security, GA and CPC fellow Scott Mac Donald moderates the discussion.

You can download presentations below:

Latest Webinars

Transforming Guyana, Episode V: Implementing Guyana’s Local Content Policy

Media Advisory

Transforming Guyana, Episode V: Implementing Guyana’s Local Content Legislation: Challenges and Opportunities

Recording available here:

DATE: October 12, 2022

TIME: 10:30 AM- 11:30AM EDT

The Challenge


Terrence Blackman
Terrence Blackman, Founder, Guyana Business Journal
David Lewis
David Lewis, Vice President, Manchester Trade Ltd. Inc. & Fellow, Caribbean Policy Consortium


Professor Leyland Lucas, Dean, School of Entrepreneurship & Business Innovation, University of Guyana
Andrew Schnitzer da Silva
Andrew Schnitzer da Silva, CCO, Ascending Ltd., Workforce, Marine, Technical Training and Procurement
Richard Ramberran, Executive Director, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Key Quotes

  • Richard Rambarran:
    • “There are a number of issues as it relates to the environment for doing business in Guyana and the way that the environment creates the conditions for competitiveness when juxtaposed alongside more mature economies that have had time to correct some of these market inefficiencies that exist. Take for example, most common is the cost, reliability, and quality of electricity we face here in Guyana. Secondly, of course, is access to finance and rate of interest, and the depth and breadth of the financial sector we have and how competitive we can be in that regard as a private sector…”
    • “How do we then take what we currently have in place and improve, in a variety of ways, the environment for doing business in Guyana and increasing the competitiveness of the Guyanese firms?…What we really ought to be probing on how can we eventually build an internationally competitive private sector…When we begin to move in that direction, we will really see a lot of benefits that accrue to local content…We will never be irresponsible and advocate for the implementation of local content on something which we clearly don’t have the capacity to do.”
    • “Since the implementation of local content, I’ve actually seen more persons coming and investing…there is a degree of certainty that exists.”
    • “I don’t think we need a modern immigration policy in place of the local content act. What I think we need is a modern immigration policy alongside the local content act.”
  • Professor Leyland Lucas:
    • “There is no perfect piece of legislation…What has been created as our legislation, will go through several iterations over the years; there will be a number of changes, amendments to this legislations simply because we have to deal with the realities of our environment.”
    • “One of the critical things for the effective local content policy to really take shape is skills development and how quickly we can ramp up those skills in order to take advantage of the advanced components of local content. It is important for us to recognize that that skills vacuum is not going to be fixed overnight.”
    • “You have Guyanese experts who are in the Diaspora who have ability to help us in our development…If we are going to engage the Diaspora and allow them to take advantage of local content opportunities, then how do we create a structure that allows them to take advantage of those opportunities without necessarily being present in Guyana.” 
    • “In the Caribbean we talk about ‘free movement of human capital’ but yet we do not see free movement of human capital. So as we expand and deal with this local content issue, we also have to ask ourselves how do we embrace our Caribbean brothers and sisters, no matter where they are coming from and at what levels can they contribute to the overall development of this country…We are at a unique stage where the end is certainly not in sight and so as we deal with those economic migrants, we do need to take a look at our migration policy and maybe make some changes.”
  • Andrew Schnitzer da Silva:
    • “There is a big eagerness in wanting to implement these policies or laws and there has to be a transition, an understanding from where the country is and where the country wants to be and what that entails. Lots of times, it doesn’t happen overnight…It has to be an evolving law that understands the needs of the country at any given moment in time.”
    • “If we stop having international companies that are used to international standards through which we can learn and be permeated by them in order to create a different way of going about business, then it will be very difficult to input that type of rigor or that type of excellence in the way we do business…When skills aren’t present or if skills are lacking, it is very difficult for companies to be committed to these [local content] numbers.”
    • “Going back to the 51% shareholding structure and the 75% managerial presence in these structures…If companies in-country do not have the expertise and companies have to come from abroad, nobody is going to give away 51% of their knowledge and of their gained experience unless they trust a local partner. In order to gain trust, I believe the best way is through time…it needs to be nurtured and needs to have a conduit in order for it to be successful…”

Latest Webinars

Dynamics of Africa-Caribbean Engagement

This IIR and the CPC  webinar entitled “Dynamics of Africa-Caribbean Engagement” features:

Prof. Ivelaw Griffith (Chair)                                                                                                                        

Fellow, Caribbean Policy Consortium



Most Honourable Percival Noel James Patterson                                                                                                                 

Former Prime Minister of Jamaica and Statesman in Residence, The University of the West Indies



Dr. Adeoye Akinol

Head of Research and Teaching, Institute for Pan-African Thought,

University of Johannesburg,                                                                                                                                     



Prof. Cyril Kenrick Hunte                                                                                             

Professor, Economics Department, Howard University and Former High Commissioner of Guyana to South Africa and other African countries



Dr. Annita Montoute                                                                                                                        

Lecturer, Institute of International Relations



Mr. Eric Phillips                                                                                                                                                

Chair, Guyana Reparations Committee

Latest Webinars

Transforming Guyana, Episode IV: Guyana’s emergence as a Petrostate and implications for the Venezuela-Essequibo controversy

Media Advisory:

The Guyana Business Journal (GBJ) Caribbean Policy Consortium(CPC) present Episode IV of Transforming Guyana webinar was held on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, at 10:30 AM EST. 

You can view the recording HERE

Panelists discuss Guyana’s emergence as a Petrostate and its implications for the Venezuela-Essequibo controversy.

The presentation made by Prof. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, Fellow Caribbean Policy Consortium, Tenth Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The University of Guyana from June 2016 through June 2019, is available below:


Prof. Ivelaw Griffith

Prof. Anthony Bryan

Dr. Riyad Insanally

Hon. Carl B. Greenidge

Key Quotes

Carl B. Greenidge, (fmr) Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guyana

“Because of the petroleum issue [and] the issue of the exploration of the maritime space, there’s a tendency by the press which sees petroleum as a more sexy area to focus on this matter as though it is a dispute between Guyana and Venezuela over the maritime space.”

“In the first instance, it does not concern the maritime space, it concerns the land boundary, and the claim by Venezuela in regards to this land boundary amounts to three-quarters (74%) of Guyana’s land surface. I don’t think with the exception of what now seems to be the claim of Russia in relation to […] I’m sure there is no territorial claim that currently exists involves such a demand […] it would leave us with practically no Guyana at all.”

“It needs to be said that that the border between Guyana and Venezuela is a border that also meets with Brazil’s border, at which border is one that had also involved the Brazilian claim on the territory that Venezuela currently claims.  We signed a tri-party agreement, which is an agreement that says ‘this is where all borders meet, this is where the three borders meet.’”

”If any one of those countries decides that the borders agreement no longer stands, it is not something that Guyana alone can agree to.” […] “Brazil has never agreed that it will cede territory to Venezuela in that area.”

Dr. Anthony Bryan, Fellow Caribbean Policy Consortium and Center for Strategic & International Studies

“Production of gas in Venezuela has been severely constrained due to its poor investments and the fact that its national oil company has always been interested more in oil than in gas. Despite all of that, Trinidad and Tobago will have to conduct a very skillful game of diplomacy with respect to Venezuela and with respect to the claims over the Essequibo region. We’re not going to falter; we are a CARICOM country and will support Guyana’s territorial integrity.”  

Dr. Riyad Insanally, Guyana’s (fmr) Ambassador to the United States

“…The oil and gas economy convergence and why it is important to focus on this, because it has serious implications regarding the challenge to Guyana’s geographic sovereign integrity. While I do agree with Professor Bryan as to the continuation of functional cooperation, the need for vigilance is important because many times, governments fail to defend their national sovereignty because of the slippery slope of the comfort of business engagement with counterparts and the oil and gas energy world is known for this”


Dr. David Lewis (L) and Dr. Terrence Blackman (R)

THE GUYANA BUSINESS JOURNAL & THE CARIBBEAN POLICY CONSORTIUM are dedicated to exploring and understanding the Guyanese and Caribbean economy’s key issues and developing concrete policy proposals to support the region’s socio-economic and political development.

Latest Webinars

US-CARICOM Trade & Investment Relations

This webinar explores how the US-CARICOM Trade and Investment Council (TIC) under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) of 2013 can be used to promote more focused negotiations between the U.S. and CARICOM.  Special focus on the US-Uruguay TIC (2008) as a best practice benchmarking experience with its five times increase in bilateral trade and two times increase in US FDI into Uruguay between 2008-2016 and into the present.

View the full webinar here:

Keynote Opening Address by:  Anabel Gonzalez (Deputy Director General of WTO, former Trade Minister and Chief FTA Negotiator of Costa Rica)  
Presentation on US/Uruguay TIFA by:  Angelica Herrera Munoz (Trade expert/consultant) and Ana Claudia Moran (Trade expert/ consultant)


Ambassador Wayne McCook

ASG CARICOM Secretariat

Braeden Young

Director (Caribbean/Mexico), USTR

Andrea Ewart

Founder, Develop Trade Law LLC/CPC Fellow

David Lewis

VP Manchester Trade / CPC Co-Chair/Fellow


Jan Yves Remy

SRC Director/ CPC Fellow

Latest Webinars