By Guyana Times,
Guyana and Suriname have inked an open-air agreement that will remove restrictions on flying between the two countries and increase market access, in a historic move aimed at helping to make Guyana a regional hub for air travel.
The signing was done at the Pegasus Hotel on Monday, between Public Works Minister Juan Edghill and his Surinamese counterpart Albert Jubithana. During his address, Edghill spoke about the agreement and how it would help Guyana in its quest to become a transport hub.
“We must be able to operate flights within Caricom and also outside of Caricom. So apart from allowing our people to move across the border by way of the new bridge, air transportation is also important,” Edghill said.
Edghill explained that the agreement will see all restrictions being removed from market access. It will also result in airlines being given more leeway when it comes to their routes and freedom of the skies. The agreement will release restrictions on aircraft time and restrictions on aircraft cargo among other benefits.
“In this agreement, we have agreed to remove all restrictions on market access, capacity and pricing, to create for a more open market and to give route rights for our respective airlines,” the Minister said.
“This agreement is important for our Government’s strategy and policy in making Guyana a hub for air travel. Suriname has good connectivity to Europe and the Dutch Caribbean. And Guyana has good connectivity to the Caribbean and North America.”
Meanwhile, Transport Minister of Suriname, Albert Jubithana hailed the signing as a testament to the bonds between the two countries. He explained that the agreement was prepared within 10 days and came from talks between President Dr Irfaan Ali and Suriname President Chan Santokhi.
“The open skies air services agreement signed today is one of our foremost achievements during the visit. It will connect our communities, create economic growth and contribute to sustainable development on both sides of the Corentyne River.”
“The open skies policy will benefit both local and foreign airlines, economically. Each air services agreement can be seen as a solid airbridge between countries. Today, between Guyana and Suriname,” Jubithana said.
The Suriname Minister of Transport quoted the famous saying “without connectivity, there is no productivity”. Against this backdrop, he pointed out that the framework has been set for productivity.
The signing of the agreement comes just a few weeks after President Ali visited Suriname and held discussions with his Surinamese counterpart. Preparations are currently ongoing for a bridge connecting Guyana and Suriname at the Corentyne River to be built.
Recently Minister Edghill and Suriname’s Public Works Minister, Dr Riad Nurmohamed, had paid a visit to the site of the proposed Guyana-Suriname river bridge across the Corentyne River.
With the recent commitments to bridge Guyana and Suriname over the Corentyne River within five years, this project is expected to open up the pathway for other major developmental projects including the much-anticipated deep-water harbour project in Guyana.
The bridge will not only link the two neighbouring countries but also open up access to greater economic opportunities beyond them into French Guyana, and through the road network being developed into Brazil, and eventually further into South America.
Main Photo: Public Works Minister Juan Edghill along with his colleague Surinamese Transport, Communication and Tourism Minister Albert Jubithana and other Surinamese officials after the signing of the open-air agreement on Monday