GUYANA and Suriname are working together to bridge the gap between them – literally.
The two countries that border each other in South America are in the process of developing a bridge over the Corentyne River and it is hoped that such development will bring much increased economic increase for the two nations that are discovering much benefit due to their recent oil finds.
The Corentyne River is the longest river in Suriname and divides Guyana and Suriname.
The Guyana Chronicle reported that Guyana’s President, Dr. Irfaan Ali and Suriname’s President Chandrikapersad Santokhi finalised the agreement for the construction the bridge.
The official Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, and Suriname’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Politics, Albert Ramdin, in Suriname’s capital Paramaribo, on Tuesday on the eve of the country’s 45th Independence Day.
Ali is presently on a three-day State visit to Suriname.
At a press briefing, Ali said, “The proposed road alignment will also create, within its vicinity, possibilities for free trade zones and enhanced land value, which will not only reduce the cost of doing business, but improve the ease of doing business.”
Santokhi said: “The bridge over the Corentyne River is not only important to facilitate the movement of persons and goods, trade and cross-border cooperation, but it also symbolises a transition from the oath to a new era, where there is a well-being and prosperity of the people, democracy and rule of law.”
The Guyana Chronicle reported that plans for the construction of a bridge across the Corentyne River were initiated in August, when Santokhi travelled to Guyana for Ali’s inauguration as president.
Then, the two nations indicated the need to strengthen relationships.
“We have had the opportunity to review progress made on issues we agreed on in August, and we discussed several other areas for possible cooperation. We have taken the important step by formalising a new cooperation mechanism,” Ali said at the conference.
An agreement for strategic dialogue cooperation was also signed by the Foreign Affairs Ministers of both countries which establishes a framework for dialogue with focus on improving the lives of citizens of both countries.
Ali said, “We will focus on integration and regionalisation in an open and transparent manner, which is results-oriented, forward-looking and based on trust and joint actions. There are negative issues, but when we convert energy in the positive direction, only the country and people will benefit.”
Additionally, both governments agreed on the creation of the Guyana-Suriname Business Facilitation Unit, to manage and facilitate collaboration between national private sector bodies, the Guyana Chronicle reported.
The Unit will focus on promoting investment and business opportunities in agriculture, tourism, fisheries, oil and gas, and other sectors.
“Yes, we are small countries, small population, small human resource base, small investment portfolio, but if we bring synergy to what we do, then we can have greater benefits, greater local content, and more resources flowing into the local economy,” said Ali.
Santokhi, said, “With recent oil findings in both countries, and mitigation of Covid-19, the momentum is there to target our focus on sustainable development and solutions for existing common challenges of two developing countries.”