Significant dip in revenue at Guyana-Suriname ferry crossing

--authorities selecting builder for Corentyne Bridge

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Guyana on Monday reported a drop in revenue collection at the Guyana-Suriname ferry service which served as a critical and legal link between the two countries for decades, describing the current situation as an all-time low.

Notwithstanding, Guyana’s Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill said the two sides were continuing to meet, with one such meeting set for this week, to make final agreements on its renewed commitment to bridge the Corentyne River and provide a new link between the two states.

“…because of COVID and the restrictions, revenue has dropped significantly but we anticipate recovery and while we await the bridge across the Corentyne River this service must continue,” Edghill said.

He told reporters during a press conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) that the Kanawiama ferry service continues to serve its purpose despite the drop in revenue.

Minister of Public Works, Juan Eghill (Photo: News Room/May 3, 2021)

Edghill welcomed what he said was the highest level of commitment between the two sides in history, both on the management of the ferry service and the will to bridge the river.

“2021, we have been able to see for the first time in a long time Suriname coming to the table with Guyana in terms of accountability as it relates to this project.

“We were able to name both the board and the management committee for the joint venture and got them to name their board and management committee and get them to agree to a joint audit which will allow for declarations and now looking at profitability,” Edghill added.

The minister said the two sides continue to meet on the construction of the Corentyne Bridge with a contractor to be selected soon.

“Within this week, myself and my counterpart from Suriname will be engaged in discussions to ensure that we have the final bidder selected and work going because this bridge between Guyana and Suriname over the Corentyne River is high on the agenda of both administrations and both presidents,” Minister Edghill stated.

The eight shortlisted consultancy firms which submitted expressions of interest for the construction of the new Corentyne River Bridge had until December 21 to submit their proposals.

The bridge will be constructed using a Design-Build-Finance Model through a private partnership arrangement with incentives given by both governments to the preferred bidder.

“The bids for the studies and design and preparation, all those bid documents to engage the consultant is being evaluated by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board currently,” Edghill added.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the construction of a high-span bridge was signed in November 2020 during President Irfaan Ali’s visit to Suriname.

President Ali said the construction of the bridge will create tremendous opportunities for both countries while Suriname’s President Chandrikapersad Santokhi had stated that the bridge would mark a new era for both countries.

The proposed site for the bridge has already been selected and preparatory works have begun.

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