CARICOM’s Energy Security Dilemma… Can Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname Break New Ground?


In an era of increasing geopolitical upheavals and economic volatility, energy security has become a non-negotiable priority for Caribbean nations. Recognising the importance of achieving this goal, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname have stepped up to marry their respective strengths and produce a practical blueprint for energy independence. Towards this end, the trio has signed several non-binding agreements over the years. Following high-level discussions at the Suriname Energy Oil and Gas Summit (SEOGS) in June 2023, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago signed an agreement to establish technical teams to produce feasibility studies on various energy-related issues. Guyana and T&T also signed a similar pact in May 2022, building on another signed in January 2022 with Brazil and Suriname to explore the development of an energy corridor. 

Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana sign Energy MOU – MAY 22, 2022 (Guyana’s Department of Public Information photo)

Their political will is also imbued with the efforts of CARICOM, which more than two decades ago endeavoured to have its 15 member states find common ground on devising a strategy for energy security.

Will New Legislation be Enough? 

Georgetown, Guyana – Like many of its Caribbean counterparts, Guyana has struggled to effectively combat the illegal gun trade/trafficking market. A large part of the problem stems from the country’s inability to deploy adequate resources to police its expansive land borders stretching 2933 kilometers and shared with Brazil, Venezuela, and Suriname. 

The Global Organized Crime Index notes that the country’s porous borders make it a virtual paradise for black market dealers seeking an easy transit point for illegal weapons. Over the years, Guyana has seen a flow of illegal firearms from France, Brazil and Venezuela. 

For those weapons which manage to settle into the hands of domestic criminal networks, statistics from the country’s Criminal Investigation Department show that there is a preference for arms manufactured in Brazil and the USA. From 2012 to 2022, it was found that the Guyana Police Force removed over 1,097 illegal firearms, many of which were manufactured in those two territories. 

Specifically, between the period of 2008 and 2012, an average of 100 illegal guns was being removed from the streets with this trend continuing until 2018. Though there has been a noticeable decline from 2020 to 2022, with an average of 70 guns being seized annually, authorities say they are not the least bit satisfied with this. 

To truly increase its gains, Guyana’s attorney general and minister of legal affairs, Anil Nandlall says a new law is in the making that will modernize the nation’s approach to crime fighting.