‘No onus on Guyana to fund replacement of Ferry service’- Foreign Ministry
The Government of Guyana Wednesday said it is not solely responsible for funding the replacement of the Guyana-Suriname Ferry service either temporarily or permanently.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Wednesday said speculation about the Government of Guyana taking on the obligation of entirely funding a joint enterprise of this type is erroneous.
“It is not in keeping with the bilateral agreement signed between the two countries that governs the obligations of both States regarding the operations of the ferry service,” the Ministry stated.
Referring to the agreement, the Ministry revealed that in 1998, the joint ferry service was launched after a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Governments of Guyana and Suriname.
The agreement stipulates that the maintenance of the ferry is to be shared equally and that agreement is still functional.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the Government of Guyana has been funding most, if not all of the maintenance works on the ferry over the years in a bid to reduce the hardships to passengers and businesses.
The Ministry said the joint company has to ensure that the monies collected by or on behalf of the business are properly directed to defraying the expenses incurred.
The Ministry’s statement noted that timely action was not taken to initiate repairs to the MV Canawaima, when it sustained damage to one engine in September 2017.
Since the company was unable to secure the funds intended to meet the routine repair costs, the vessel had to be pulled by a tug-boat to facilitate passengers.
The Guyana Government said it will request an early meeting to ensure that the issues affecting the operation of the ferry vessel can be fully ventilated and resolved to the full satisfaction of the parties.
“It is hoped that the fact that the service has been of mutual benefit to both countries will inform the treatment of the matter.” the Ministry said.
On June 3rd, Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, met with Surinamese Ambassador to Guyana, Mr. Ebu Jones at the Ministry of the Presidency to discuss the way forward for the operation of the Ferry service between Guyana and Suriname.
It was agreed that Guyana’s Minister of Public Infrastructure, Mr. David Patterson would meet with his Surinamese counterpart to discuss and put systems in place for a continuation of the ferry service.