(Stabroek News, 3.Mar.2021) — A letter to the editor of Stabroek News about establishment of the Guyana-Suriname Commission.
The proposed establishment of the Guyana-Suriname Commission to focus on the economic, social and cultural development of both countries is indeed a timely initiative.
The recent discovery of mega oil reserves in the Guianas shield has provided both countries with the opportunity to foster a collaborative and synergistic approach to development.
The following areas of focus will surely be on the radar, namely:-
1. Joint venture approach to an on-shore base industrial site or an Energy Frontier for the added value production of the collective oil and gas reserves of our respective countries. This should include a deep port harbour, gas power generation plants, refinery, petro-chemical plants, production of lubricants, LPG plants and polymers.
2. Amalgamation of business that can provide technical support services to the floating platforms at the various oil wells. Services such as non-destructive testing and welding to pipelines and tanks, safe entry and cleaning of hazardous materials, environmental disposal of hazardous waste, safe air transport in the form of helicopters and others.
3. Infrastructural projects that will enhance the physical connectivity of our countries. The bridge from Moleson creek to South Drain where the bids for the feasibility and concomitant design have already been received is a tremendous step for mutual progress. The bridge will definitely see an increase in the movement of people and goods in both countries. Developing further our respective regional airports especially the Zorg en Hoop in Suriname may result in cheaper air fares.
4. The facilitation of private enterprise expansion in each other countries. At present we have a few Surinamese companies operating in Guyana with the most recent announcement of the Fernandes Company opening of a modern bakery here. The private sectors of both countries through the auspices of the proposed commission should develop reciprocal business.
5. Facilitating collaboration in the rice industry to the benefit of both parties. Sharing of research data and best practices in land tillage, rice varieties, pest control, fertilizer management, harvesting techniques, milling technology and added value production will redound to the benefit of the collective rice industry.
6. Promotion of more cultural and sporting exchanges. Both countries share almost a similar history of slavery and Indentureship albeit under different colonial masters. We share similar connections in our music, dance and arts forms which will only be enriched by more interactions. With respect to sports, we already have the inter Guianas games for the under nineteen youths. We can encourage more club and national teams exchanges in football, volleyball, basketball, netball, swimming and athletics. There will be a multitude of areas that the proposed Guyana- Suriname Commission would conceptualize in the future with its formation to the benefit of both nations. It is indeed a welcome initiative.