GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Newly elected President Mohamed Irfaan Ali, and his newly elected counterpart, the President of Suriname, Chandrikapersad Santokhi on Sunday, pledged their commitment to ensuring continued development between the two states.
During a media briefing, Ali indicated that the engagement between the two Heads of State was extensive, covering multiple sectors and was aimed at strengthening the existing relationship Guyana and Suriname share.
The talks also focused on “opening up emerging sectors and infrastructural link that can create opportunities for us and our human resources.”
Guyana’s Head of State highlighted that both nations share “similar challenges, circumstances and opportunities, as such, it is very critical and important for us to work together to find common solutions, to collaborate and to support each other in tackling the challenges while at the same time confront the opportunities for the people of both countries can benefit from.”
“We have laid the framework that would enable us to make use of the opportunities, confront the challenges, define the way we approach international partners, international financial institutions, raising of capital, management of the natural resources sector, joint engagement on Local Content Policy and the sharing of information are among the weighty issues addressed.”
Echoing similar sentiments, President Santoki noted that the bond between the two nations is strong and that will form the foundation for future development.
“We should seize this opportunity and seek new ways in which to provide our people with a better life,” he said.
The Surinamese President said cooperation will not only be at the Government level but will include the private sector; noting that it is the role of the Government to facilitate private sector engagements.
“Sustainable development should come from the private sector, from the small and medium enterprises, and that is the opportunity for both nations.”
Both Heads of State maintained that the bilateral engagement “was not just discussions and promises” as a proactive action plan is scheduled to be produced within the coming weeks.
While previous Heads of Government had held discussions on deepening ties and enhancing development in both countries, President Santoki is confident that the plans discussed will materialise as both himself and President Ali are committed to providing a better life for their citizens.
“There are two leaders who will work day and night for the people of Guyana and Suriname based on their own responsibility towards the nation as well as shared responsibility on issues which are binding us,” Santoki stated.
Meanwhile, It was also announced that both governments are set to collaborate on protocols that could see the return of normalcy in business and trade.
According to President Ali, the pandemic and the reopening of the Guyana/Suriname border were high on the agenda during the bilateral talks.
“That is why we invited the Minister of Health in the meeting, and they are to begin collaboration on the protocols and to put systems in place for our review, that we could move expeditiously to the returning in a manner that would bring back normalcy, and also in a manner that will take into consideration the reality of the pandemic, and ensuring the structures and systems are there to support decisions that will be made,” Ali said.
The Guyana/Suriname border was closed in early April as part of efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
The two countries had later implemented measures to ensure that residents of their respective riverine communities could commute and conduct their businesses safely.