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GY | Oct 12, 2020

Guyana, Suriname eager to build bridge connecting countries

/ Our Today

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Public Works Minister for Suriname, Dr Riad Nurmohamed (left, holding national flag), and Guyanaese Minister for Public Works, Juan Edghill (right), making last preparations for a symbolic ceremony on Long Island where both countries have agreed a bridge would be built across the Corentyne River. (Photo: Facebook @MoPIGuyana)

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.

Patrick Thompson, chief planning officer in Guyana’s Ministry of Public Works, speaks to the media during a symbolic ceremony signalling Suriname and Guyana’s intention to build a bridge across the Corentyne River. (Photo: Facebook @MoPIGuyana)

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.

By a ruling from the Hague Arbitration Court in 2007, Suriname is granted sovergnity over the width of the Courantyne River, with Guyana awarded the left bank of the river. (Photo: Google Maps)

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.

Public Works Minister for the Republic of Suriname, Dr Riad Nurmohamed, speaking at Saturday’s symbolic flag ceremony ahead of plans to contruct a bridge to span the Courantyne River along the Suriname/Guyana border. (Photo: Facebook @MoPIGuyana)

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.

The Corentyne River flows tranquilly through Guyana’s East Berbice area in Region Six. (Photo: Kennard P, for Flickr)

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. 

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