Guyana, Suriname settle on model for construction of Corentyne Bridge

Guyana and its sister country Suriname have settled on the model for which the highly-anticipated Corentyne Bridge will adopt.

During a joint press conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Thursday, His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali said he and Suriname’s Head of State, His Excellency, Chandrikapersad Santokhi have settled on the approach for interested companies to design, build, finance, own and operate the Corentyne Bridge.  

“We both recognise that we now need to consolidate actions to choose from the shortlisted companies that have submitted Expressions of Interest for the construction of this bridge.

“Our sides have also agreed that a working group would be established which includes the addition of the Ministers of Finance to determine the investment and concessions package that would accompany this expression of interest in securing the financing, building, operating and ownership of the bridge,” President Ali said.

Earlier in July eight companies were shortlisted to build the bridge linking Guyana to Suriname.

The proposals are to be submitted on September 16, 2021, following which a joint evaluation committee will assess the bids. Subsequent to the choosing of the successful bidder, the company will have one year to conduct a feasibility study on the bridge.  

In October 2020, Guyana’s Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, MP, along with Surinamese Public Works Minister, Dr. Riad Nurmohamed visited the proposed site for the bridge.

During an engagement at the Pegasus on Thursday, President Ali shared that he and President Santokhi have been able to settle transportation impediments that affect private-sector-owned businesses that ply their trades in Guyana and Suriname.

“There has been an agreement on a number of issues that were raised by the private sector in removing hurdles and impediments to allow for smoother air travel and greater reliability on the ferry between Guyana and Suriname,” President Ali pointed out.

President Santokhi said the bridge would mark a new era for both countries in several areas.

“This bridge on the Corentyne River is not only important to facilitate the movement of persons and goods, trade and cross border cooperation. It also symbolises a transition from the old to a new era. The era of wellbeing and prosperity of our people and freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” the Surinamese President said.

Guyana and Suriname have shared diplomatic relations since November 25, 1975. In November 1998, the countries entered into a joint-venture arrangement for the Canawaima Ferry Service Incorporated, which has facilitated trade and travel for citizens of both countries. President Santokhi assured that the ferry service would be operationalised once again.