China to fund Corentyne River bridge

A Chinese company has been identified to build the bridge across the Corentyne River connecting Guyana and Suriname, Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkette stated on Monday.

The minister said that the Chinese government had agreed to fund the project and that both she and her Suriname counterpart, Winston Lackin, were supportive of the initiative.

The project will be supplemented by the US$3 billion concessional loan that China offered to Caricom in June of last year. Minister Rodrigues-Birkette stated that Guyana had approached China in relation to funding the bridge and being one of the eight countries which would benefit from the loan.

Currently a design for the bridge is being finalized by the Chinese company and the full cost has not been established. For now a ferry service and speed boats comprise crossing options.

The idea to build a bridge was first established by former President Bharrat Jagdeo and Surinamese President Desi Bouterse in 2010.

Rodrigues-Birkette noted that relations with neighbouring countries was a high priority. She stated that the bridge across the Corentyne was just one of the areas Guyana was looking at to increase mobility. Guyana and Venezuela have been in discussions to create various roadways while Guyana and Brazil had the Takutu River Bridge completed in 2009.

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