Stranded Guyanese return home as Guyana-Suriname ferry service resumes
Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill says Government went above and beyond to ensure its citizens stranded in Suriname for months due to COVID-19, were able to return safely to their families.
Sixteen individuals utilised the service on Sunday, the first trip since its suspension in March 2020.
On Sunday, Minister Edghill, accompanied by Permanant Secretary, Vladim Persaud, and a team from the Ministry, inspected the facilities and measures put in place at the Moleson Creek Crossing.
“I’m set and ready to recommend this very important service between Guyana and Suriname. I’ve just completed a thorough walkthrough checking on all of the protocols and systems, ensuring that we are in full compliance,” Minister Edghill said.
He said what Government is doing is ensuring a risk-free environment for staff and travellers.
“Safety for travellers, we have all the systems in place for that, we also have to ensure that those who are arriving on our shores, don’t pose any risk to the nation’s health.”
Minister Edghill is encouraging Guyanese traveling to and from Suriname, to comply with the COVID-19 regulations that relate to travel. Individuals will require a negative PCR test done within 72 hours of travel.
“We know how important it is for people to be able to connect with loved ones, do business et cetera. If we hadn’t opened the service today, we would have had to conduct a repatriation journey because already, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has received a significant number of requests from both our Embassy in Paramaribo and the Consulate for persons wanting to return home,” he added.
Minister Edghill said he made this point to the Minister responsible for Transport in Suriname, His Excellency Albert Jubithana, and they have been in constant dialogue.
He said after the visit of His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, to Suriname at the end of November, the decision was made to reopen the service in December from the Guyana side, however, that had to be deferred.
“We came back home based upon that decision and we were all set and ready to go; then we were not able to proceed because of the challenges that Surinamese faced. We did provide the necessary support and exercise necessary patience with our collaborating partners in Suriname and they have had that issue resolved satisfactorily.”
The current ferry service will operate on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but the number of sails per day could be increased to match demand.
Minister Edghill stated that the service is only open to Guyanese and Surinamese at this time. Diplomatic residents in Guyana and in Suriname will be facilitated upon request through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of both countries. The MB Sandaka will be used while the MV Canawaima undergoes maintenance.