Guyana and China on Friday inked an accord to facilitate cooperation through the the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative that could pave the way for funding the construction of the Linden-Lethem Road and a new Demerara Harbour Bridge.
China’s Ambassador to Guyana, Cui Jianchun singled out the Linden-Lethem Road, Demerara Harbour Bridge and the upgraded Cheddi Jagan International Airport as “very, very important” to facilitate tourism and the flow of people to Guyana.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge noted that Guyana has been searching for bilateral and multilateral funds to construct the Kurupukari to Lethem segment of the road. The United Kingdom has agreed to finance the Linden to Mabura stretch.
Greenidge said Brazil had already proposed that the two countries tap into the US$50 billion fund that China had set aside for Latin America and the Caribbean. “That is something very much on the cards and it’s an exercise that we’re working on,” he said.
Seven Chinese companies have already bid to build the Houston to Versailles bridge across the Demerara River. Finance Minister, Winston Jordan has said that Guyana would ask for a new request for proposals to build a four-lane, high-span fixed bridge instead of the three-lane thoroughfare with a retractable section to allow for ships to pass.
Greenidge said the Guyana government’s priority is the development of infrastructure projects to help boost the country’s international competitiveness.
“The inadequate infrastructure, grossly inadequate in many ways, has served as a constraint investment on the one hand, the attraction of investors and economic operators and it also serves as a constraint in relation to identification and access to markets so one of our main priorities at this point in time is to work on the development of infrastructure,” he said.
Guyana on Friday became the 74th country to sign the Silk Road Initiative, paving the way for unimpeded trade, financial integration and policy coordination and people-to-people bond. Twenty-eight international organisations have also signed on to the initiative.
Among those witnessing the signing were President David Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Finance Minister Winston Jordan, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, Minister of Education Nicolette Henry and Guyana’s Ambassador to China, Bayney Karran.