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China to finance construction of Corentyne River bridge

The way is now paved for China to release funds for the construction of a bridge across the Corentyne River to link Guyana with neighbouring Suriname, Foreign Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett said Monday.

She told a news conference that at the request of her Surinamese counterpart Winston Lackin, Guyana told China that it supports the construction of the link.

“Guyana, at the request of Suriname, we have informed the Chinese government that we are supportive of the bridge across the Corentyne River,” she told a news conference. That waterway that borders the two countries is Suriname’s territory.

China has already identified a company to design the bridge that authorities hope would eventually replace the rickety wooden boats that shuttle between Springlands and Nickerie as well as the European Union-funded Canawaima Ferry from Moleson Creek to South Drain.

While the cost of the bridge would not be known until the design is completed, Rodrigues-Birkett said the funds would be drawn down from the US$3 billion concessionary loan facility that China announced in Trinidad last year June.

Bridging of the Corentyne River was the brain-child of Suriname’s President Desi Bouterse and then President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo.

Bouterse and current President Donald Ramotar have since reaffirmed their government’s support for the multi-million dollar project that fits in with the Union of South American Nation’s (UNASUR) infrastructural integration plan to link all the countries by road, river and bridges.

Guyana and Brazil are linked via the Takatu Bridge. Venezuela and Guyana have been exploring the construction of road between the two countries.