France interested in building Guyana-Suriname bridge
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Public Works Minister Juan Edghill meeting with Ambassador Antoine Joly and his team
Public Works Minister Juan Edghill meeting with Ambassador Antoine Joly and his team

By Rehana Ahamad
AMBASSADOR of the French Republic to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Antoine Joly, has signalled his country’s interest in building the Guyana to Suriname bridge link.

This was confirmed by Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill, who reminded that the closing date for Expressions of Interest (EoIs) for the project is February 15, 2021. On Monday, Minister Edghill met with a delegation comprising the ambassador, along with members of his team – Mr. Jean-Francois Gerin, Mr. Christophe Sureau, Mrs. Christine Sureau, Mr. Yorgo Hernandez and Mr. Philippe Lamouret.

During the meeting, prospective areas for future collaboration were discussed, and the French Ambassador shared an interest in assisting with the maintenance of Guyana’s vessels, as well as an interest in building the Corentyne River bridge. Edghill had previously said that if all goes well, the bridge linking Guyana and Suriname could be completed and put to use before the end of 2025. In early December, the Ministries of Public works for both countries (Guyana and Suriname) invited EoIs for the provision of consultancy services for the “conducting of a feasibility study and preparing detailed designs for construction of the bridge over the Corentyne River and approach roads connecting Suriname and Guyana.”

According to the published invitation, “The objective of the consultancy is to conduct a feasibility study, including environmental and social-impact assessments and prepare detailed designs, drawings, cost estimates and bid documents for the construction of a bridge linking South Drain, Suriname and Moleson Creek, Guyana.” This particular assignment has a timeline of 12 months attached to it.
Minister Edghill told the Guyana Chronicle that a technical team has been assembled to ensure the competent and transparent execution of construction of the bridge. That team is being mutually spearheaded by Minister Edghill and his Surinamese counterpart, Riad Nuiermohamed.

In the assessment of submissions, consideration will be given to technical competence, financial capability, qualifications, existing commitments, and importantly, the bidder’s experience on similar projects, both locally and regionally.
“The Governments of Suriname and Guyana reserve the right to accept or reject late applications or to cancel the present invitation partially or in its entirety. It will not be bound to assign any reason for not shortlisting any applicant and will not defray any costs incurred by any applicant in the preparation and submission of Expressions of Interest,” the published notice read.

During Monday’s meeting, Minister Edghill said that the French will be more than welcome to submit their EOIs for not only that project, but the several other initiatives that form part of the government’s transformational agenda. The Public Works Minister related the government’s desire to build the capacity of the local workforce through collaboration with the French. He also pointed out the importance of maintenance works to the local fleet of vessels, especially since two are currently in dry dock awaiting repairs.

Currently, the MV Kimbia and MV Barima have been docked for emergency repairs. A press release from the Ministry of Public Works explained that the MV Kimbia has developed a hole in its bow and is currently in dry dock at the Guyana National Industrial Corporation. This vessel is expected to be fully operational by the end of January.

Meanwhile, the MV Barima had experienced engine failure to its port engine. The Ministry of Public Works and the Management of Transport and Harbours Department have indicated that stringent efforts are being made in collaboration with members of the private sector to get the vessel up and running in the shortest possible time.

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