Guyana and Suriname Agree on Way Forward For Construction of Bridge

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Presidents of Guyana and Suriname have instructed their respective officials to enter the next phase of the construction of a bridge over the Corentijn/Corentyne River linking the two countries.

chanshPresidents Chan Santokhi (left) and Dr. Irfaan AliA joint statement issued following weekend talks between Presidents Dr. Irfaan Ali and his Surinamese counterpart, Chandrikapersad Santokhi noted that the officials will now engage in “discussions on prices, technical aspects, financing and operational modalities with the common goal of optimizing affordability and concessionality”.

It added that experts from both countries “will also jointly work towards a political and legal framework, launch the tender process for supervision and draw up the agreement on the final administration that will jointly manage the bridge”.

The bridge is expected to cost an estimated US$300 million and the statement said that both leaders “reaffirmed the importance of this fixed link between their two neighbours in the broader context of South American connectivity, as part of the overall objective of regional integration and trilateral cooperation between Suriname, Guyana and Brazil”.

It said both Satokhi and Ali  welcomed the expressions of satisfaction of theBrazilian President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, during the recently held trilateral summit in Guyana regarding the bridge over the Corentyne/Corentyne River.

”From a bilateral perspective the Presidents of Suriname and Guyana recognized the importance of the historic and friendly relations between the peoples and governments of both countries. It was further recognized that both countries are currently poised to become major players in energy and food security in this region.

”Establishing a fixed link between the two neighbouring countries will undoubtedly increase the flow of people, strengthen agricultural cooperation, facilitate trade and investment and promote tourism, thereby contributing in a diversified manner to economic growth that is expected to deliver sustainable prosperity for both the Surinamese and Guyanese population,” the statement added.

It said that clear timelines have been established for the completion of these activitie and that the team of three ministers on each side will continue their work to lead these negotiations and data collection, monitor progress and report regularly to the heads of state of both governments.

”President Santokhi and President Ali agreed to convene the Platform for Strategic Dialogue and Cooperation (SDCP) in early May 2024 to expand consultations to other pending relevant areas of strategic importance on the agenda between the two countries,” the joint statement added.