Caribbean Travel News And Deals

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. July 27, 2023: Here are the top Caribbean travel news and deals this week in 60 seconds.

Canada is again warning nationals to “exercise a high degree of caution” if travelling to Jamaica or in Jamaica due to the high level of violent crime there. This included armed robbery and murder in large cities and tourist areas, including parts of Kingston and Montego Bay, despite the presence of police to counter criminal activity, officials said.

An American Airlines flight bound for Georgetown, Guyana, had to return to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after a disagreement arose between passenger Joel Ghansham and a flight attendant. The incident​occurred during meal service when a passenger asked for help stowing his bag, but the flight attendant refused, leading to an exchange of words.

Sunwing is getting ready for the winter vacation season. CEO Mark Galvin says the airline is once again offering direct flights to Varadero, Cuba this winter. Galvin says the flight to Varadero starts on November 16th and will be offered four days a week.

La Compagnie, which operates 100 percent business-class flights from New York to France and Italy, is planning what amounts to a test-run in the Caribbean. The company has partnered with travel agency E. Clarke Travel to launch a new Caribbean vacation program that includes all-business-class flights to St Maarten. The flights will operate once weekly on Sundays, with service set to begin on Nov. 26 and run through April 14, 2024 from Newark Liberty International Airport to St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport and back.

​Barbados is counting down to the end of Crop Over with Grand Kadooment 2023 returning to its traditional stomping ground with the parade along​the old route from Warrens to the Mighty Grynner Highway on August 7th. It’s unclear if Rihanna will be part of the celebration this year.

And Grenada is also counting down to its carnival this year. This year’s Spice Island mas kicks off August 5th with Children’s Carnival Frolic; and ends the weekend of August 14/15th with J’ouvert/Pageant/Monday Night Mas and Parade of Bands/Last Lap.

If you are looking for a quick getaway, consider sailing on Allure of the Seas. She begins making 3- and 4-night voyages out of Port Canaveral on October 30 to Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

And get 65 percent off room rates now if you book a Sandal’s Vacation. This includes $186 per night at Sandals Ochi. Check all options at

Team Antigua Island Girls In ‘The World’s Toughest Row’

News Americas, ST. JOHN’S ANTIGUA, Thurs. July 26, 2023: In an extraordinary display of courage and determination, Team Antigua Island Girls, an exceptional all-female rowing team from Antigua and Barbuda, has achieved yet another momentous victory. Celebrated across the twin-island Caribbean nation for their historic accomplishments, these inspiring athletes are known as the first all-female, black team to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Team Antigua Island Girls are an all-female rowing team from Antigua and Barbuda comprised of Elvira Bell, Christal Clashing, Samara Emmanuel, Kevinia Francis, and Junella King. Collectively, they are four athletes and a skipper.

On July 23 2023 team members: Christal Clashing, Kevinia Francis, and Samara Emmanuel completed the Pacific Challenge Row Race, rowing from Monterey Bay, California, to Kauai, Hawaii, covering approximately 2,800 nautical miles in forty-one days.

Team Antigua Island Girls’ Christal Clashing, Kevinia Francis and Samara Emmanuel celebrate their accomplishment having arrived in Hawaii after forty-one days at sea for the Pacific Challenge. (Photo courtesy: World’s Toughest Row)

This remarkable endeavor, undertaken as part of the inaugural 2023 Pacific Challenge, spanned forty-one days at sea and was dedicated to a noble cause. The team’s extraordinary journey not only demonstrated the strength and resilience of women but also raised funds for building a home to support vulnerable girls in need.

The team embarked on this mission with a profound impact in mind: to raise funds for a charitable cause – building a home for women in conflict with the law, offering them a second chance in life and fostering women’s empowerment.

Overcoming immense challenges, Team Antigua Island Girls rowed an astonishing distance of approximately 2,800 nautical miles across the Pacific, participating in what is known as ‘the world’s toughest row.’ Starting their journey in Monterey Bay, California, they concluded their triumph in Kauai, Hawaii. Among fourteen competing teams, the Island Girls emerged as true champions, standing strong alongside their fellow all-women team, Row Aurora.

Speaking on behalf of Team Antigua Island Girls, Kevinia Francis expressed their vision, stating, “Through our efforts, we hope to raise awareness about the importance of women’s empowerment and provide a brighter future for young girls who deserve a second chance in life.”

The triumph of Team Antigua Island Girls has garnered widespread admiration, drawing praise from notable figures. The Honourable Charles Fernandez, Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Transportation, and Investment in Antigua and Barbuda, commended the team, hailing their dedication to raising funds for young girls in need as truly honorable. Colin C. James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, also lauded the Island Girls’ efforts, highlighting their unwavering spirit and commitment to representing their nation on the international stage.

As witnesses to their inspiring journey and advocates for their cause, we are called to support Team Antigua Island Girls and their noble mission. Together, we can make a difference, nurturing compassion and generosity to steer young women towards a future filled with hope, opportunity, and empowerment.

For those interested in learning more about Team Antigua Island Girls or contributing to their cause, please visit their GoFundMe page ( or make direct contributions to the Caribbean Union Bank account #20004631 in St. John’s, Antigua.

Investor Commits $4.5 Million To Boost Solar Energy In Haiti

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. July 25, 2023: Caribbean Investor Capital (CIC) has recently unveiled its plan to invest $4.5 million in Solengy, a company dedicated to solar energy projects in Haiti.

This investment will empower Solengy to expand its operations and bring clean energy solutions to more communities in Haiti, making a significant contribution to the country’s economic growth and environmental sustainability.

Moreover, the impact of Caribbean Investor Capital’s investment is expected to extend beyond financial gains. The expansion of solar energy infrastructure will generate job opportunities and stimulate economic progress in Haiti. Additionally, the shift towards clean energy sources will contribute to curbing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting a healthier environment for the nation.

In essence, Caribbean Investor Capital’s $4.5 million investment in Solengy for solar energy projects in Haiti highlights the increasing focus on investment strategies that address environmental challenges. This endeavor not only fosters Haiti’s economic development and environmental well-being but also emphasizes the role of private capital in supporting the transition to clean energy solutions in developing countries. Furthermore, it underscores the significance of collaboration between financial institutions and impact-driven organizations in driving meaningful and positive change

Shaggy, Sheryl Lee Ralph To Be Honored At NY Jamaica Independence Gala

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. July 25, 2023: Jamaican-born Grammy-winning singer, Shaggy and Jamaican American Emmy-Award winning actress, Jamaican Sheryl Lee Ralph, are among the top honorees for the 2023 New York Jamaica Independence Gala this August.

Shaggy, seen here performing on stage at PNE Amphitheatre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, will be honored at the NY Jamaica Gala on August 19th. (Photo by Andrew Chin/Getty Images)

Orville “Shaggy” Burrell will receive the Jamaica Independence Award for being an International Cultural Icon in Reggae Music and Philanthropy while Lee Ralph, OJ, will be presented with the Jamaica Independence Award for her outstanding contribution to Film and Television.

Jamaica’s Consul General to NY, Alsion Wilson, announced the stellar lineup of 2023 honorees and said “have displayed unwavering commitment, remarkable talent, and unparalleled contributions in their respective fields.”

The other honorees are:

Assistant Chief of the NYPD Police Ruel Stephenson, who will be presented with the Jamaica Independence Award for Leadership in Law and Enforcement and Community Development;

Stephen Facey, Chairman of the Pan Jamaica Group, who will be presented with the Jamaica Independence Award for Business Leadership and the Development of Jamaica;

Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton, a highly respected dermatologist and successful entrepreneur, who will be honored with the Jamaica Independence Award for Woman of Excellence in Medicine and Business;

Marc Jerome, the president of Monroe College, who will be recognized for Education Excellence and the Development of Jamaica and,

Marlon Lindsay, the dynamic CEO of 21 Cent Ed, who will be receiving the Jamaica Independence Award for Leadership in STEM Education and Entrepreneurship.

Set to take place at the prestigious New York Hilton Midtown on Saturday, August 19th, starting at 6:30 pm, the gala promises an evening of excellence.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, ON, will deliver the 61 Independence Message, spotlighting on the theme “Proud and Strong.”

Tickets for the Jamaica Independence Gala can be purchased through Eventbrite or the event’s official website at

The Jamaica Independence Gala is an annual event held in New York, celebrating Jamaica’s rich culture and heritage. Hosted by the Consulate General of Jamaica, New York in partnership with the Jamaica’s Promise Foundation, the gala aims to bring together Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica to recognize the nation’s independence while supporting various charitable causes in Jamaica. The 2023 gala will serve as a platform to support these charitable causes, focusing on uplifting the nation and its people.

Guyana’s Trade Prospects

By Jerry Haar and Cristina Caus

News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Tues. July 25, 2023: A cursory view of the political, economic and social environment in South America does not instill optimism. Economic and political challenges across the region erode the confidence of both local and foreign investors, reducing the likelihood of a strong post-pandemic recovery in the region.

Only one nation on the continent offers economic prospects – extremely bright ones, in fact – that are destined to catapult the nation towards sustainable prosperity – Guyana. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Guyana is expected to reach 37.2% in 2023 and 45.3% in 2024.

The principal driver of economic growth in Guyana is oil. Guyana outranks Saudi Arabia, Norway, Qatar as country with world’s second highest oil reserves per capita. A consortium led by ExxonMobil discovered the first major oil deposits in May 2015, more than 100 miles off Guyana. Hess, China’s CNOCC and other multinational oil companies and suppliers will continue to expand their investment and operations in Guyana and fortify linkages between upstream and downstream activities.

While almost all the attention in the media has been focused on investment in the oil sector, it is important to emphasize that trade, not just investment, is of vital importance to the Guyanese economy, particularly in light of the fact that it encompasses a diversity of sectors and industries and is more labor intensive than resource exploration and extraction.

Guyana’s value of imports of goods traded totaled $975 million at the end of the first quarter of 2023, representing a 31.3% increase when compared to the same period in 2022. The leading imports during this period were fuel and lubricants, contractors’ machinery, and special purpose machinery. The top three trading partners of imports for the first quarter 2023 were Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. and China. Guyana’s main export partners are the U.S., Singapore, and the United Kingdom; and in terms of commodity exports these comprise sugar, gold, bauxite, aluminum, rice, shrimp and timber.

A member of CARICOM, Guyana enjoys preferential market access to the U.S. under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, (CBTPA), and has an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union, (EU).

For a resource-based economy like Guyana’s the competitive challenge in the 21st century is diversification. Light manufacturing, with exports destined for Caribbean Basin trading partners, and services—especially with the increasing demand for nearshoring – along with non-traditional agriculture and agribusiness embody the diversified mix that can provide value-added for Guyana.

Be that as it may, the pre-requisite for competitiveness is a well-developed functioning infrastructure—physical, financial, technological and human – that allows a nation to capitalize on its existing assets while developing and sustaining new ones. For example, Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony has revealed that there has been much interest from local and international private sector bodies to develop a biomedical hub to expand the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. Without turning out a sufficient number of high quality biomedical and related professionals and technicians (who remain in Guyana rather than emigrate), such a goal is not feasible.

Within the realm of trade, Guyana confronts both external and internal barriers that impede its ability to compete effectively. In terms of external barriers, while some external barriers remain to Guyana’s exports, tariffs and quotas are far less restrictive today than in past generations. The remaining barriers are mostly non-tariff measures (NTMs) and are often imposed for legitimate reasons of health and safety. Increasingly there is a newer class of restrictions that seeks to serve larger environmental or social goals. These NTMs are most evident when it comes to trade in goods but can also be seen in the services sector. Just as exports of goods might be constrained by (for example) health and safety standards, exports of services can be constrained by partners’ restrictions on visas or refusal to recognize the qualifications of Guyanese professionals.

Guyana faces more tariff barriers in South-South than in North-South trade. The data show that other developing countries generally extend duty-free or low-duty treatment to the raw materials coming out of Guyana’s mines, wells, and forests, but they often impose high tariffs on fish, raw and processed agricultural products, and alcohol. Apart from the United Arab Emirates, where most tariffs are low, the developing countries very often protect products such as rice and sugar with tariffs as high as 50% (Ukraine), 65% (China), or even 90% (Panama).

The picture is quite different for the major developed-country markets, of which only Japan still erects anything like a tariff wall on products of interest to Guyana. Virtually all of Guyana’s exports to Canada and the European Union enter duty-free, whether on a most favored nation (MFN) basis, via the Canadian CARIBCAN program,

In essence, however, the magnitude of cross-border movement of goods and services is determined more by the competitiveness of national firms and the environment in which they operate at home than by the trade barriers that foreign governments choose to impose, waive, or remove.

As for internal barriers, a range of capacity limitations, from inadequate infrastructure to deficits in human capital, can adversely affect the country’s ability to produce and export competitive goods or services. The same may be said for taxes or regulations that discourage entrepreneurship, or policies that tolerate inefficiency and corruption. Similar points may be made with respect to regulatory matters associated with the financial sector. On the one hand, it can be costly to come into compliance with measures taken by some of Guyana’s partners with respect to Anti-Money-Laundering and Combating-the-Financing-of-Terrorism initiatives. On the other hand, failure to comply with such measures can leave an economy vulnerable to abuse by elements that are criminal or worse.

Certainly, the greatest internal barrier to trade for Guyana is its unenviable ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business reports. When it comes to the “trading across borders” component of the report, Guyana beat only one of the 19 countries used as comparators in this strategy. The amount of time and money required to import and to export is excessive compared to most other countries.

While the future for Guyana is bright indeed, the country would be in an even stronger position if it increased diversification into manufacturing and services, introduced more Guyanese value-added into the production chain, streamlined bureaucracy, eliminated many of its VAT measures, and adhered to pro-market principles in guiding its policy agenda.

The 2021 UNCTAD report Guyana: A National Trade Strategy provides a path forward. Traveling down this route will surely produce dividends for the country, the private sector (foreign and domestic) and its citizens at large.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jerry Haar is a professor of international business at Florida International University and a global fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Cristina Caus is an international oil and gas business developer and consultant and holds a master’s degree in international business from Florida International University.

Youth In Toronto Embrace Caribbean Culture At Spectacular Junior Carnival Parade

News Americas, TORONTO, Canada, Mon. July 24, 2023: The spirit of Caribbean pride and heritage came alive for another year in Toronto as youth with heritage in the region took part in the much-anticipated Junior Carnival Parade on Saturday.

Dressed in vibrant costumes, young parade revelers graced the streets of Neilson Road, transforming the city into a colorful celebration of culture. The festivities kicked off at 11 a.m. from the Malvern Community Recreation Centre, with the parade making its way along Neilson Road and concluding at Neilson Park at 8 p.m.

Aiden Philip (10) centre throws down the dance moves during the parade with friends. Saturday-photo-Junior Carnival Parade.The parade is an opportunity for young revellers to showcase their pride in their Caribbean heritage. (Photo by R.J. Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Among the young revelers was 10-year-old Aiden Philip who threw down the dance moves during the parade with friends and Rayne Johnson, 14. Also participating was Marquee St. Louis, 11, who was costumed as Namor from Black Panther. He won first in the Male individual competition.

Marquee St. Louis ( 11) in Namor, from Black Panther. He wins first in Male individual. The parade is an opportunity for young revelers to showcase their pride in their Caribbean heritage. (Photo by R.J. Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Festival Management Committee CEO, Mischka Crichton, expressed her excitement about the event, stating, “The Junior Carnival parade is truly a sight to behold. We’ve worked tirelessly to create a family-friendly environment where young carnival goers can immerse themselves in the festivities.”

Rayne Johnson (14) during the parade with friends. Saturday-photo-Junior Carnival Parade. (Photo by R.J. Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

As part of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, the Junior Carnival Parade holds significant importance, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Caribbean community in Toronto. It provides a platform for young individuals to celebrate their roots and express their creativity, confidence, and cultural appreciation.

Last week, the city witnessed the crowning of Junior King Amari Bowen-Otchere, representing Tribal Carnival, and Junior Queen Myauna King-Thomas, from the Toronto Revellers, during the Junior Carnival Showcase. Their titles mark them as youthful ambassadors of Caribbean culture and bring immense pride to their communities.

Jennifer Hirlehey, Festival Management Committee Chair, emphasized the significance of young people experiencing Carnival, saying, “Children are the future, and it is imperative that they have the opportunity to learn, experience, and participate in this staple of their cultural heritage. They are the future of Toronto Caribbean Carnival.”

Organizers of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival are eagerly anticipating the energetic and captivating performances that will grace the parade. Spectators can expect to see a dazzling display of colorful costumes, youthful enthusiasm, and a profound celebration of Caribbean traditions.

In addition to the Junior Carnival Parade, Spotify released ‘Carnival Sounds’ playlists in honor of Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival, adding to the excitement and festive atmosphere surrounding the event.

The Junior Carnival Parade serves as a testament to the vibrant and diverse culture that thrives within Toronto’s Caribbean community. It not only preserves tradition but also nurtures the spirit of unity and pride among the younger generation.

Jamaica, Haiti Women’s Soccer Squads Make History At FIFA World Cup

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. July 24, 2023: Both the Jamaican and Haitian women’s soccer teams made history this weekend as the women’s FIFA World Cup soccer competition got underway.


In a remarkable display of resilience and determination, Jamaica’s women’s football team, the Reggae Girlz, earned their first-ever point in Women’s World Cup history with a hard-fought 0-0 draw in their first match on Sunday July 23rd against the highly favored France.

Having previously appeared in the World Cup in France four years ago, Jamaica experienced a disappointing campaign, losing all three games. However, in the 2023 tournament, they immediately surpassed their previous efforts with a battling performance.

Led by the immensely talented Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw, Jamaica put up a spirited fight against one of the top contenders in the tournament, showcasing their determination to succeed on the world stage. The match in Sydney witnessed Jamaica, ranked 43rd in the world, securing their first-ever World Cup clean sheet.

As the game neared its conclusion, Shaw received a second yellow card and was sent off, leaving Jamaica to defend with ten players against the French onslaught. Despite the absence of their star player, the Reggae Girlz showed tremendous courage and composure, successfully preserving the historic draw.

For France, ranked fifth in the world, the result represents a missed opportunity, as they were unable to convert their dominance into goals. The team’s wastefulness in front of the goal prevented them from claiming all three points.

This draw also puts a dent in France’s hopes of topping Group F, as they now face a tougher challenge to secure the top position with Brazil still to play. The Girlz will face Panama on July 29th and then Brazil on August 2nd. See how they celebrated yesterday.

Deneisha Blackwood #14 of Team Jamaica celebrates with team mates during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group F match between France and Jamaica at Sydney Football Stadium on July 23, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Gao Meng/VCG via Getty Images)

Deneisha Blackwood of Jamaica celebrates after the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group F match between France and Jamaica at Sydney Football Stadium on July 23, 2023 in Sydney / Gadigal, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Deneisha Blackwood #14 of Team Jamaica reacts during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group F match between France and Jamaica at Sydney Football Stadium on July 23, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Gao Meng/VCG via Getty Images)

Solai Washington of Jamaica celebrates after the scoreless draw in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group F match between France and Jamaica at Sydney Football Stadium on July 23, 2023 in Sydney / Gadigal, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)


In an exhilarating showdown, Haiti’s women’s football team made their debut in the Women’s World Cup, facing England in a hard-fought match that ended in a 1-0 victory for England on July 22nd.

But despite the loss, Les Grenadières showcased their extraordinary talent and determination, earning widespread praise and respect from fans worldwide, both Haitian and non-Haitian.

The match saw Georgia Stanway score England’s lone goal through a penalty kick in the 29th minute. Haiti’s valiant efforts to find the net, including two glorious opportunities from counter attacks, unfortunately did not result in a goal. The team took seven shots, with two on target, while England fired 21 shots, 11 of which were on goal.

Chloe Kelly of England is tackled by Dayana Pierre-Louis of Haiti during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group D match between England and Haiti at Brisbane Stadium on July 22, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Kethna Louis of Haiti in action during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group D match between England and Haiti at Brisbane Stadium on July 22, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)

Haiti’s goalkeeper, Kerly Theus, emerged as one of the standout performers, making an impressive 10 saves to keep her team in contention. Star player Melchie “Corventina” Dumornay also displayed her skills, providing a crucial pass to Roselord Borgella, who narrowly missed scoring.

Despite facing some unfortunate injuries during the match, the Haitian team displayed unwavering resilience and determination, fighting till the end. As they look ahead to their upcoming games against China and Denmark, Les Grenadières will aim to secure a spot in the knockout stage by finishing in the top two spots in their group.

Caribbean Travel News And Deals

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 21, 2023: Here are the top Caribbean travel news and deals this week in 60 seconds.

Major alert from Both the US and Canada this week. Both are warning nationals to reconsider travel or Exercise a high degree of caution if travelling to or in Trinidad and Tobago, due to violent crime on the twin island Republic including terrorism and kidnapping.

The UK government is set to suspend the visa-free waiver agreement with Dominica this month. Following this, the UK plans to annul the visa-free agreement with St Lucia in August and Grenada in September. Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and St Kitts and Nevis will face the same action in October, November, and December, respectively.

USVI born, WNBA All-Star Aliyah Boston, is set to serve as tourism ambassador for her native land. The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism has announced a multi-year partnership with the basketball star.

US travellers will soon be able to fly directly to Montego Bay, Jamaica from Denver International Airport (DEN). United Airlines will start operating the direct flights on November 4th and will continue once weekly – on Saturdays.

Delta Air Lines is making its way back to Curacao after more than​13 years. The carrier will depart from Atlanta to the Dutch Caribbean island starting on December 16th.

Meanwhile, American Airlines will being operating a direct flight from Miami International Airport to Governor’s Harbour, Bahamas (GHB) for the first time as of Feb. 3, 2024.

Start making plans for this October’s Barbados Food and Rum Festival. The event is set for October 19-22 in Bridgetown and will include a performance this year from Afrobeats superstar, Ayra Starr.

The Goombay Summer Festival returns to Nassau, Bahamas following a hiatus of over a decade. It take​place on Bay Street between Rawson Square and Charlotte Street on July 28th, and continue for the two subsequent Fridays.

And this week, you can book a Labor Day weekend trip in the Bahamas for two for just $1,323.88. Fly American Airlines from Miami International airport and stay from Sept. 1-4th at Margaritaville Beach Resort – Nassau. Book now on Kayak HERE

Artificial Intelligence And The Development Of Agriculture And Food Sectors In Oil Rich Guyana – Part 1

By H. Arlington Chesney

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Thurs. July 20, 2023: The Caribbean, indeed, the world, is prioritising the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the modernisation of their national economies. This is associated with the proliferation of devices, such as, IoT, IIoT and InstructGPT with its sibling, ChatGPT, and Microsoft’s AI for Earth Programme.

The agricultural sector is part of this transformational process with the use of AI in agriculture globally projected to increase from US$1.1 billion in 2019 to US$3.8 billion by 2024. This favourable projection is linked to AI use in agriculture being associated Inter alia with increased efficiency and effectiveness, resulting in increased profitability and industry sustainability.

These beneficial outcomes are primarily due to the plethora of associated devices that are grouped as (1) algorithmic and (2) autonomous.

The algorithmic devices can collect, analyze and interpret gigantic quantities of data and make projections and/or predictions that exceeds human capacity and reliability improving with increasing data range and use.

This has led to AI being used inter alia to:

In crops, (i) forecast weather and hence best timing of planting; (ii) determine fertiliser, pesticide and irrigation water use; (iii) optimise supply chains; and (iv) forecast market peculiarities and readiness.

In livestock, (i) determine feeding patterns; and (ii) management of endemic diseases.

There are many autonomous devices, including drones and robots, conducting precision operations, such as:

In crops, land management and agronomic practices, including pest control, and pollination,

In livestock, milking, feeding and general husbandry.

In farm administration and management, transport, haulage and sanitation.

What Are The Implications For The Agriculture And Food Sectors In An Oil Rich Guyana And, By Extension, CARICOM?

Guyana’s President, Dr Irfaan Ali, CARICOM’s Lead Head for Agriculture, recently stated that the “Caribbean market must be positioned as a high-value specialised one”. It is now well demonstrated that the World Trade Organisation’s requirement for globally produced commodities to have relatively free access to national markets of developing countries, such as, Guyana, has hindered the growth of indigenous agricultural and food sectors.

Nonetheless, because of potential geopolitical pressures and the established trading patterns for food commodities prevailing in Guyana and Caricom, this status quo will not change significantly soon. Therefore, achievement of the position identified by President Ali, that is, food supply to a “high-value specialised” market, must be generally done with global competitiveness.

With the abundance of stated benefits associated with the use of AI in agriculture, the potential use in achieving competitiveness required of Guyana’s agriculture and food sector needs to be examined.

The use of AI in agriculture would not pose a mental block to practitioners in Guyana’s agricultural sector who have historically introduced innovative practices and techniques. For example, the sugar industry has utilised aircraft for fertilising and pest control and drones for assessing the state of its available lands. Similarly, the rice industry has “adapted” caged wheels for tractors operating under waterlogged conditions, utilized aircraft for seeding and fertilising and a land leveling “machine” which could be considered as a precursor within the concept of Machine Learning Systems.

Further, at a basic algorithmic level, farmers have established their timings for land preparation, planting and, hence, harvesting with traditional knowledge of the climatic seasons. Within that broad canvas, they determine best times to plant their short term and tree crops with the advent of the “full moon”. More recently, they have become aware that long droughts, associated with climatic changes, are followed by severe pest infestations. Consequently, they make early preparations to effect control.

Agriculture is a complex social, economic and environmental system that responds to the particular and peculiar metrics of Guyana; these metrics are/will be robustly dynamic with the impact of climate change. Consequently, the uses of AI in agriculture in Guyana can’t be transferred wholesale from the countries in which they are being used successfully. They must be tested, adapted and customised to ensure fit for purpose in Guyana. This process, which is tantamount to being a “living laboratory”, requires enhanced—numbers and specialties—technical and financial capacities. With respect to finance, Guyana can use some of its substantial current and projected oil and gas revenues. Once used wisely, this will be a profitable investment in the development of the country’s sustainable agricultural and food sectors of the future.

At the algorithmic level, particularly as it relates to data on weather patterns, the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, in association with national Hydrometeorological Services, like Guyana’s, is making available Numerical Weather Predictions to the public, including those in the agricultural and food sectors. With support from the Extension Services, this information could then be used by individual small and large agrientrepreneurs to plan, with a level of precision, for farm activities. These would include time of land preparation, planting, weed control, husbandry practices and harvesting. This is particularly critical for the agriculturally important, but difficult to manage, heavy clay/silt soils of Guyana’s coastal and riverine areas.

Small farmers currently dominate the country’s food production sector. With their limited technical and instrumental capacity, the template of institutions (ministries or parastatals or agriculturally based associations) collecting and analysing data and developing projections must be promoted and strengthened. As stated previously, the use of AI, at both the algorithmic and autonomous levels, will require “living laboratories”. It’s recommended that these be located at the various ecological zones within Guyana. This will enhance possibilities of minimising risk whilst optimising possibilities for sustainable enterprise development. This is made more necessary because of the current high costs of autonomous devices.

A strong, innovative, visionary and responsive institutional model is essential.

Notwithstanding the above, there are some potential uses for AI in the developing agriculture and food sectors in Guyana. Firstly, at the algorithmic level, weather and soil data could be collected and analysed to project with significant statistical accuracy timing of critical agronomic practices and approaches to various marketplaces. This will require the Government to enhance its soil collection and analytical capacity to include in the first instance selected crops within specific ecological zones.

A further possibility is the collection of appropriate activity data throughout, – but particularly at the production segments -selected value chains, to facilitate the development of “traceability” models: a prerequisite as Guyana expands its production for its robustly expanding hospitality sector and for CARICOM and other export markets.

At the autonomous level, as Guyana, for climate change reasons, is moving southwards, away from the “threatened” coastlands, there is need to rapidly regularise occupancy to facilitate development plans. Drones are appropriate for this activity. However, the appropriate legal framework must be established, operationalised and institutionalised. Drones may also be used for planning the layout, including planting densities, of medium to large sized farms, growing corn, soybeans, rice, sugar, tree crops, and pasture grasses. Similarly, they can be used for pest control.

In the Intermediate and Rupununi Savannahs, whose topography is generally flat and/or undulating, appropriate planting, fertilising and harvesting autonomous machines can be adapted used. Naturally, this will depend on the capital cost and the ability to maintain an acceptable level of Return on Investment. These activities could serve as pilots for similar enterprises in Belize and Suriname and, in a more limited way, Jamaica. That is, with its favourable oil and gas revenues, Guyana can be the leader in the use of AI in Agriculture in CARICOM.

Clearly, there are challenges to its use, and these will be addressed in a subsequent article. However, suffice it to say that the successful use of AI, in ensuring long term resilient and consequently sustainable food systems and food security in Guyana, depends on the adequacy and competency of its HI, Human Intelligence.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr H Arlington D Chesney is a leading Caribbean agricultural professional who has served his country, the Caribbean and the hemisphere in the areas of research, education and development. He’s a professional Emeritus of IICA and, in 2011, was awarded Guyana‘s Golden Arrow of Achievement for his contribution to agricultural development in Guyana and the Caribbean.   

Omai Finds More Gold In Guyana

News Americas, GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thurs. July 20, 2023: Canadian gold company Omai Gold Mines Corporation has announced it has found more gold in Guyana.

The find came at the Wenot project in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) in Guyana, according to Omai President and CEO Elaine Cunningham.

The recent assays received for five additional holes, including exploration and extension holes at Wenot, have shown promising results. The drill results confirm the continuity of the gold-bearing structures to at least 100 meters below the current resource model, with intersections of significant gold grades. These findings support the growing evidence that the gold grades at Wenot increase with depth.

Omai says it will focus its attention and budget on testing undrilled gaps within the Wenot deposit model, expanding the western “starter pit” area, and exploring the blue-sky potential for the Wenot deposit at depth. The company believes that the ongoing drill program and results will have a positive impact on the mineral resources, leading to an updated estimate and a decision on a preliminary economic assessment later this year.

Omai Gold Mines Corporation has been actively exploring its well-endowed Omai gold property in Guyana. The company aims to tap into the significant expansion potential of the Wenot deposit and identify additional gold deposits in the region. The ongoing drilling program and the discovery of extensive gold values have reinforced Omai’s confidence in the property’s potential.

With previous technical reports supporting the significant gold deposits at Wenot and exploration targets showing promise, Omai is committed to further exploration and development in the region. The company’s focus on extending the Wenot deposit and evaluating opportunities for open-pit mining reflects its long-term vision and dedication to maximizing the potential of the Omai gold property.

Omai Gold Mines Corporation returned to the Wenot and Fennell pits in 2020, marking its renewed commitment to the Guyanese mining sector. The company has since undertaken an extensive drilling program to uncover the full potential of its holdings.