Home Letters Funding for Corentyne River bridge can be better spent to improve ferry...
On February 17, 2021, it was reported in the news that a press release from the Ministry of Public Works had stated that 30 companies have expressed interest in providing consultancy services to conduct a feasibility study and prepare a detailed design for the construction of a bridge across the Corentyne River, to connect Guyana with Suriname.
It is highly unusual to engage a consultancy firm to prepare a feasibility study for a project and at the same time give it an assignment to prepare detailed design and contract documents for the project. A feasibility study is intended primarily to determine the financial and economic viability of a project. If the project is found viable, the next step would be to ensure that funding is available for it, before any assignment is given for its detailed design, which can be costly.
Once finance is assured, a consultant is appointed to prepare a detail design and construction contract documents. The project is then put out on tender for a construction contractor to build the project in accordance with the drawings and specifications, and within the bid amount.
An assessment of the traffic flow between Guyana and Suriname would indicate that the construction of a costly bridge across the Corentyne River would not be a viable project, and large subsidies would be required to service the capital investment, as well as for its operation and maintenance. The feasibility study should bear this out.
Funding would be better spent on improving the ferry service.
Finally, the Government should reconsider its priorities and realise that a Demerara River crossing bridge vis-a-vis that for the Corentyne River would fit into its national development programme, and create a producing asset which would realise benefits in a very short period of time.