It appears that Guyana has abandoned hopes that Brazil will come through with funding for the long-awaited Linden-Lethem roadway. Instead, Government has started engaging the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB)
for possible funding of the project.
Described by Government as the Guyana-Brazil Road Link, the project has long been one that the country was working to realise.
A cooperation agreement signed a few years ago had not only targeted the roadway, but the building of a deepwater harbour and huge hydro-power facility somewhere in the Mazaruni, Region Seven.
However, Brazil is facing significant problems with its economy and it had appeared that despite a joint working group in place, the projects had been placed on the back burner.
According to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure yesterday, on Monday it delivered a presentation to the IsDB for possible funding and collaboration for the construction of the
Leading the Guyana team was Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson. She was accompanied by Geoffrey Vaughn, Chief Works Officer; Patrick Thompson, Chief Planning and Transport Officer; Kester Hinds, Senior Project Engineer; and Balraj Balram, Permanent Secretary.
The IsDB was represented by Idrissa Dia, Division Manager of Urban Development and Services, and Wahyu Wijayanto, Senior Financial Analyst.
“Before the commencement of the presentation, Minister Ferguson said that the Ministry was thankful for the support received by ISDB in realising Guyana’s projects, particularly the Linden-Lethem corridor. She added that the bridging of the hinterland regions to the coast had significant benefits, including socio-economic impacts,” a statement from the ministry indicated.
According to Dia, the bank is “more than happy to demonstrate its support to Guyana.
He further said that the partnership could open doors for Guyana to parts of the world where relationships were previously unforged, including with African, South Asian, and East Asian nations.”
This type of partnership can really open Guyana in terms of economic development, technical expertise, human resources, and exposure to other parts of the world, he noted.
“So, we are very happy to invest where possible,” Mr. Dia said.
He also identified other possible areas of collaboration, including within the transport and energy sectors.
Meanwhile, the formal presentation was delivered by Vaughn who highlighted key components of the project.
In his presentation, the works official noted that while a road currently exists between Guyana and Brazil, its current standard was less than satisfactory.
The project would include 454km of paving from Lethem to Linden, since only about one-third is currently paved.
Other works would include improved drainage through the upgrade of approximately 130 culverts along the identified stretch of road.
“He stressed the importance of linking the hinterland to the coastland and added that economic benefits for Brazil were also taken into consideration. He said too that the project would lead to a significant decrease in travelling time between Linden and Lethem.”
According to the ministry, following the presentation, the IsDB shared their positive impression of the project and raised their queries.
“They also shared their recommendations and said that the proposal thus far is more than adequate. Another team from IsDB is expected to return to Guyana for further analysis of the project. Minister Ferguson expressed hope for a positive outcome following future deliberations.”
Brazil had been highly interested in the road project as they said it would have reduced cost of shipping to areas closer to Guyana that does not have immediate access to the ocean and harbours.
The Linden-Lethem is a critical link to many communities along away and leads to the Takutu Bridge that connects Guyana and Brazil in Region Nine.
The road is seen as a major way to open the hinterland areas to developments as the current trail is impassable at times, especially so in the rainy season.
Guyana acceded to membership of the IsDB in March last year. It was seen as a signal development as the country had attempted to join the bank ever since it became a member of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) in 1998, as this is a prerequisite to joining the bank.
It is the second country in the Americas to join the bank, following on after Suriname. The bank was established in December 1973 and officially opened its doors for business on October 20, 1975, with headquarters in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It also operates through regional offices in Kazakhstan, Senegal, Malaysia and the Kingdom of Morocco.
The bank was established with the purpose of fostering economic development and social progress in member countries and Muslim communities.
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