As Guyana and Suriname deepen bilateral cooperation, the construction of the Corentyne river bridge will be a key component in unlocking greater business opportunities, according to the Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh.
The Senior Minister said this while speaking at the opening of the first local branch of a Surinamese optical services company on Thursday morning.
Dr. Singh told the gathering that advancing business opportunities is one of the focus areas of the visiting Surinamese delegation, which includes Suriname’s President Chandrikpersad Santokhi.
This visit is part of a series of engagements Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali and President Santokhi have had to strengthen inter-country cooperation and improve the lives and livelihoods of citizens in both countries.
Guyana and Suriname are continental neighbours, meaning they are situated close to each other. And, Dr. Singh reminded the gathering that there has been frequent movement between people of the two countries by boat, across the Corentyne river.
Yet, the Finance Minister posited that the economic potential that the two countries have has not been fully realised.
This potential, he explained, exists simply by virtue of the two countries being in close proximity to each other, well-positioned to access each other’s markets.
And, he highlighted, “Our Presidents have spent the last two days speaking about how we can achieve an even more effective integration or realisation of the singularity of the economic space that we live and work in.”
Importantly, though, the Senior Minister highlighted, “Foremost amongst the initiatives that we have put on the fast-track (is) a bridge across the Corentyne river.”
Since Santokhi’s first visit to Guyana in his capacity as President in August 2020, the establishment of a Corentyne river bridge has been a top priority.
In June 2021, Guyana and Suriname shortlisted some eight of 38 companies that have submitted expressions of interest for the construction of the bridge and will soon ask for their price offers.
And, on Thursday, Dr. Singh said that the increased focus on this bridge is part of efforts to enhance business opportunities and facilitate the expansion of business operations in both countries.
“… the economic potential is very vast,” Dr. Singh emphasised, stating that Suriname is the “natural and obvious” expansion for the Guyanese market and vice-versa.
His statements added to those he made only minutes before, during a working breakfast by Guyana’s Private Sector Commission (PSC) on Thursday morning at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown.
As he stated earlier, the Finance Minister said that Guyanese and Surinamese companies should look towards expanding their operations into each other’s countries.