South American neighbours Guyana and Suriname have both pledged their commitment to the construction of a bridge to span the mighty Corentyne River that runs along the border.
The agreement’s signing is expected to take place when Guyanese President Irfaan Ali visits Suriname for that country’s Republic Day celebrations on Wednesday, November 25.
Guyana’s chief transport planning officer, Patrick Thompson, says consultations are still ongoing for the final design of the bridge and there will be a flat bridge leading from Guyana to Long Island, where a road will be built to connect to the Surinamese side.
The Suriname section of the bridge will be high-span to allow for maritime traffic.
Guyana’s Minister for Public Works, Juan Edghill, and Surinamese Public Works Minister, Dr Riad Nurmohamed, ceremoniously planted flags from both countries on Long Island in the Corentyne River on Saturday, October 10.
In a statement, Minister Edghill noted that the bridge forms part of an initiative that both countries are eager to execute as they share mutual interest.
According to him, the bridge will link Guyana and Suriname in many important ways while opening up access to greater economic opportunities even into French Guiana, and through the road network being developed to Brazil—and eventually, into more markets in South America.
For his part, Dr. Nurmohamed noted that the meeting between himself and Edghill was a very important one where the two ministers decided on serious matters for the enhancement and development of both nations.
“We must finish the bridge, even if it’s in one year or ten years, the fact of the matter is, we have already started the work,” he said.
Suriname’s President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, in a recent visit to the border town of Nieuw Nickerie, said the bridge would be built with funding from a public-private partnership involving both countries.
Also known as the Courantyne, for 724 kilometres, the river has stood as Suriname’s longest river and a natural marker of its border with Guyana since European colonisation of the Guiana Shield in the 17th century.
Springing from the Acarai Mountains, the Corentyne River flows northward between Guyana and Suriname emptying itself into the Atlantic Ocean near Corriverton, Guyana on the west and Nieuw Nickerie on the east. A ferry service operates between the two towns.