Guyana, Brazil continue talks on paving Lethem road

The paving of the Linden/ Lethem road remains high on the agendas of both the Brazilian and Guyanese governments, but there is still no indication as to when this project will actually begin.

The Brazilian Minister of External Relations Antonio de Aguiar Patriota travelled to Guyana yesterday and met with Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues- Birkett , where they discussed several matters of interest including Brazil’s assistance in paving the Linden/Lethem road, constructing a hydropower plant and a deep water port.

Speaking at a press briefing held yesterday at the International Conference Centre, both Patriota and Rodrigues- Birkett underscored the importance of these projects, especially the road.  The road according to her is the top priority and she said that representatives on both sides continue to meet on these issues.

Patriota emphasized his government’s commitment to developing infrastructural projects in Guyana. Speaking specifically about the Linden/Lethem road, he said that this would be transformational and  would have a strategic impact not only in generating more trade but in other ways that are mutually beneficial.

However, when questioned on when a possible start date for the project,  Rodrigues- Birkett said that his date has not yet been identified.  “We don’t have a date as yet but I should also let you know that the feasibility study on the road is completed. And the Ministry of Transport is actually reviewing that because that is also critical for the discussions going forward, but we don’t have a timeline when those discussions or negotiations would be concluded,” Rodrigues- Birkett said. She was also unable to say when the road project will begin and said that the Guyana government will continue to put money into rehabilitation until the time for the commencement of the project.

The paving of the Linden to Lethem road has been long talked about .  At the commissioning of the Takutu Bridge in September 2010, then Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had pledged his country’s commitment towards advancing and expanding its bilateral agenda with the country, with an immediate focus on Guyana’s hydropower project and the paving of the Linden-Lethem road.

Meanwhile, at yesterday’s press conference both ministers signed an agreement on Sports Co-operation. This agreement will help to develop and intensify co-operation in this field and will encourage exchanges of experience in organizing mass sports competitions and help in the sharing of management of sports facilities and sports marketing. Rodrigues- Birkett spoke about Guyana being able to tap into Brazil’s expertise in football, while saying that the Brazilians were interested in cricket.

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