President Irfaan Ali continues to push for better cooperation with Guyana’s neighbour Suriname in an ongoing official visit to the country amid its 45th Independence anniversary where he is engaged in talks with President Chandrikapersad Santokhi.
The two leaders on Tuesday finalised agreements to advance the proposal for the construction of a new bridge across the Corentyne River and establish a new mechanism for enhanced dialogue and cooperation.
The two agreements were signed at the Presidential Palace in Paramaribo by Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd and his Surinamese counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business, and International Politics, Albert Ramdin.
President Ali, during a press briefing before the signing, said the new agreements signal a transition from the old to the new era in Guyana/Suriname relations.
He said that with Guyana and Suriname both being small border nations it was important to maintain good neighbourly relations and form strategic alliances to achieve development aspirations.
“We are deepening political dialogue at highest level… the recent oil findings and COVID 19 has given us the momentum,” he added.
The Guyanese Head of State believes the Corentyne River Bridge, once completed, opens up great possibilities for trade and cross border cooperation.
“The proposed road alignment will create possibilities for free trade zones, enhance land value and reduce cost of doing business and increase the ease of doing business,” he added.
President Ali explained too that the framework for dialogue and cooperation provides a guide for future cooperative efforts.
“We expect that the joint working groups will meet imperiously beginning just after this press briefing to agree and activate a work programme.”
The President assured that there are enormous benefits to be derived in the areas of tourism, transportation and trade. He said there will be efforts to also jointly promote business opportunities
“There will be a Guyana/Suriname business facilitation unit to manage cooperation between the private sector… this will open up investment and business opportunities for agriculture, tourism, fisheries and other sectors.”
President Ali said the two countries have shared challenges, threats and circumstances but is confident that with the shared opportunities ahead these will be confronted through greater cooperation.