Resumption of Guyana/Suriname ferry service cancelled
-as Cubans continue to gather South Drain
By Kurt Campbell
The December 12, 2020 resumption of the Guyana/Suriname ferry service and the Moleson Creek Crossing has been canceled with no date set for its resumption.
Guyana’s Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill confirmed the cancellation with the News Room on Monday, five days before the highly anticipated scheduled resumption for the service, which has been down for some eight months.
Edghill said the decision was taken as both governments look to address the large gathering of Cuban nationals at South Drain, Suriname who have been camping out in eagerness to travel to Guyana once the crossing re-opens.
“That is being handled at the diplomatic level and as soon as the issue of the congregating and a determination in terms of what will take place with the Cubans that are at South Drain, as soon as that is resolved we are ready,” Edghill said.
He told the News Room that the Directors of both the Canawaima Ferry Inc. and the Canawaima Management Committee will meet on Friday in Guyana and Suriname.
“At 10 O’ Clock, we will meet in Guyana then we cross to Suriname for a 1’O clock meeting,” he added.
Edghill would not say how the two governments intend to address the gathering of Cubans. He would only say that it is being handled by the Foreign Affairs Ministries in both countries.
“My understanding is that there is excellent collaboration. The United Nations is also involved and that is going well,” he said.
Only last week the two governments agreed that the M.B Sandaka will be used as the replacement vessel for the MV Canawaima as health protocols were being finalised.
The recent announcement was welcomed by both countries. The service was suspended in May 2019 for repairs and then again in March 2020 when Suriname recorded its first COVID-19 case.
The authorities in Region Six, since the beginning of the pandemic in March, were faced with illegal border crossings between Guyana and Suriname.
Without the ferry service, the alternative is using the ‘backtrack’ route to illegally enter and leave Guyana.