Guyana, Suriname to sign agreement for Corentyne River Bridge

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The Governments of Guyana and Suriname are expected to sign a formal agreement next month for the much-anticipated bridge across the Corentyne River.

The Department of Public Information (DPI) in an article on Saturday said President Irfaan Ali will be visiting Suriname in November to commemorate that country’s Independence.

“The formal bridge agreement is expected to be inked then,” DPI said.

On Saturday, Guyana’s Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill along with Surinamese Public Works Minister, Dr. Riad Nurmohamed visited the proposed site. The visit came two months after  the Heads of State of Guyana and Suriname committed to the construction of the bridge.

The Ministers visited the landing areas in Guyana and Suriname and the middle at Long Island (Lange Island).

The flags of both countries were planted at those locations, according to DPI.

Minister Edghill was quoted saying; “The Government of Guyana and I believe the Government of Suriname, [has] demonstrated the political will and that is very important.”

He also expressed confidence that there would be a smooth collaboration to ensure the bridge is completed.

Minister Edghill said the crossing will facilitate trade among South American nations and European markets.

“When you link the Linden-Lethem road with the Takutu Bridge and you link then Suriname, Corentyne Bridge into French Guiana, the markets that are now 750,000 now boasts to multiple millions. Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina because it’s all interlinked,” he was quoted saying.

Minister Edghill also disclosed that the Government of Guyana will host a Surinamese delegation next week to discuss plans going forward.

Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill and the Surinamese Delegation sail up the Corentyne River to plant the flags at Long Island. [Department of Public Information photo/October 10, 2020]
Meanwhile, Surinamese Public Works Minister, Dr. Nurmohamed said; “we are here for a sustainable project, which is very important for movement and development of both countries.

“With this we are giving a very important sign, not only to the Government, but to the future persons who will be involved in preparing the signing, constructing the bridge and maintaining the bridge. We want a very sustainable bridge, which the community can profit from,” he said.

Guyanese Chief Transport Planning Officer, Mr. Patrick Thompson said consultations are still ongoing for the final design of the bridge. He explained that there will be a flat bridge leading from Guyana to Long Island where a road will be built to connect to the Surinamese side, which will be a high-span bridge to allow for maritime traffic.

This project will unlock a host of economic possibilities between the nations, Ministry of Finance -Head of the Project Cycle Management Division, Mr. Tarachand Balgobin said. He added that while there are many opinions on the location and length of the bridge, the proposed site was decided on as it will provide a platform for fair trade between Guyana and Suriname.

With the expected increase in trade and traffic that the bridge would bring, the Minister said persons can expect major infrastructural development on the island such as hotels and shopping malls.

Guyana and Suriname have shared diplomatic relations since November 25, 1975. In November 1998, the countries entered into a joint-venture arrangement for the Canawaima Ferry Service Incorporated, which has facilitated trade and travel for citizens of both countries.

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