Guyana, Suriname bridge closer
…border issue to feature in coming months
Guyana and its neighbouring Dutch-speaking Suriname are one step closer to the realization of a bridge to link the two countries.
This is according to Minister of Foreign Affairs of Suriname, Winston Lackin, who along with a delegation met with his Guyanese counterpart, Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and her team at the Grand Costal Inn, Plantation Le Ressouvenir, East Coast Demerara.
According to Lackin, already both countries have written to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for funding the feasibility study.
Lackin told members of the media that several countries have already indicated their interest in the construction of the bridge.
Lackin, in response to questions about regularizing the ‘backtrack’ trade between the two countries said teams from both countries have been meeting on the issue.
“The backtrack is part of the reality of both of our countries and we have to deal with it. We want to try to regulate the movement of persons and goods, we know that they are some security issues which we intend to look at.”
Lackin added that as it relates to the security issues, technical teams from both countries’ law enforcement agencies will soon be meeting to work out the systems to be put in place.
“We want to encourage the use of the ferry… the backtracking is there and it will continue to be there but we want to put systems in place to ensure security reach the highest level possible.”
The meeting of the Foreign Ministers was in keeping with the mandate of the two countries’ leaders that the Foreign Ministers should meet at least every six months to review the progress of the relations and the programme of cooperation between the neighbours.
There will be more cooperation in the areas of agriculture, including fisheries, natural resources, exploration and exploitation, crime and security, climate change and coordination of positions in regional and hemispheric fora in particular, the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations (CELAC).
It was agreed also that meetings involving officials from the agricultural and natural resources sectors, as well as security would take place within the next three months to implement outstanding activities aimed at deepening cooperation in those sectors.
The Ministers discussed the decision taken by the Government of Suriname for its diplomatic representation in Guyana to have a dual function with an Ambassador appointed to CARICOM to be resident in Guyana, with another Resident Ambassador handling bilateral issues.
The Ministers also discussed the “back track” activities across the Corentyne River and agreed that steps would be taken to regulate these operations.
With regard to the construction of a bridge over the Corentyne River, it was agreed that the Ministers would continue to pursue with the IDB funding for the pre-feasibility studies to realize this project.
The Ministers agreed to resuscitate the discussions on the outstanding issues regarding the border between Guyana and Suriname.
There has been a longstanding claim over the New River Triangle in Berbice.
They agreed that their next meeting would take place in Suriname in six months’ time.