Guyana, Suriname agree on measures to allow food, fuel into river villages
Authorities from Guyana and Suriname on Tuesday agreed that while borders will remain closed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, riverine communities should be allowed to conduct business necessary for their survival.
The twin communities of Orealla/Siparuta had complained that restrictions on their movement by Suriname authorities had almost force them out of fuel and food which they usually transport from the Corentyne Coast.
In a joint statement, the two sides agreed to “immediately implement measures to ensure that riverine communities are able to commute and conduct their businesses, to and from points within their respective countries, under proper surveillance in order to ensure that the protocols to combat the spread of the novel Coronavirus are not compromised.”
Below is the full joint statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Officials of Guyana and Suriname met via video conference on Monday 20 April 2020, with a view to establishing modalities for cooperation to combat the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19.
Both sides underscored the importance of operating in a spirit of cooperation and strong solidarity in an effort to fight the disease. The two sides also discussed the need for cooperation in the areas of health, security, immigration and social protection, to strengthen both their national and collective responses to the crisis caused by the global pandemic. They noted that both countries have instituted measures, in accordance with international guidelines, in order to stop the spread of the virus amongst their citizens.
The parties highlighted their successes and challenges of managing the disease on the medical front and agreed to establish a mechanism for information sharing between their health personnel. They noted the importance of maintaining a healthy and safe population to minimize the effects of the disease.
While both sides of the Guyana/ Suriname border remain closed, the Parties agreed to immediately implement measures to ensure that riverine communities are able to commute and conduct their businesses, to and from points within their respective countries, under proper surveillance in order to ensure that the protocols to combat the spread of the novel Coronavirus are not compromised. The two sides emphasized that the arrangements that have been put in place will respect the fact that their respective borders remain closed and that their nationals must not endeavour to enter into the territory of the other.
In this regard, the Parties have established a mechanism for information sharing between the relevant institutions and agencies of the two countries to allow for the conduct of legitimate movements on the Corentyne River and to prevent illegal activities, including the movements of persons and goods between the two countries.
The two sides reiterated their commitment to continue to work together to meet the challenges posed by the global pandemic.