Russia willing to assist Caribbean with oil and gas exploration
Russia says it is willing to help the Caribbean explore for oil and gas as well as deal with the impact of the global economy.
Russia’s ambassador to Guyana, Nikolay Smirnov, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that relations with the Caribbean remain strong spanning economic, tourism, communication, sports and politics.
But the diplomat said that while Russia may not be able to engage in direct investment in the search for oil and gas, it was nonetheless in a position to assist in “specific projects like the seismological study of the Caribbean Sea”.
He said the study “can be used for oil and gas research, to seismic study, fisheries and especially climate changes.
“All those things will be available to Caribbean countries free of charge because it will be done by Russian scientists with participation with local scientists if they will like and that data will be available without any pre conditions without any restrictions”.
Ambassador Smirnov told CMC that trade with the Caribbean remains at a low level.
“It is not as large as we will like to have due to the distance, maybe because of the competition from other countries in Latin America but we hope it will change…so we hope trade ties will be growing, tourism will increase because right now it’s on the rise to the Caribbean.
“For example, last year from the Dominican Republic we had about 60, 000 tourist from Russia. Second to our destination is Cuba because with Cuba we have traditional ties and of course Jamaica is also on the rise, (regarding) Barbados, we also have a number of growing Russian tourist.”
The diplomat said that, like the Caribbean, Russia has to deal with issues of climate change, global warning and the economic crisis.
He said a solution to the financial crisis should not be left only to the developed countries.
He said while he is not a palm reader, an economist or in possession of a crystal ball , Caribbean countries should look to deal with unemployment, particularly among the youth, fight against corruption, and manage government expenditure in a bid to stimulate their economies.
“…those things should be addressed and international institutions like IMF, World Bank, regional banks, (like) the Inter American Development Bank…they also should be providing some specifics assistance towards needs not for overall programmes but to improve fields in the economy like tourism.”
The Russian diplomat said that his countries would continue to use its influence in fora like the G20 and G8 “because as you know, traditional times we have quite friendly relations with a number of Caribbean countries like Cuba, Jamaica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Guyana and we hope to continue”.