India pledges increased collaboration with Guyana

…in fight against COVID, financial sector management

Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr KJ Srinivasa

Guyana has long shared a close relationship with India, and on Wednesday, Indian High Commissioner Dr KJ Srinivasa touted increased collaboration between the two countries on a number of key issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
The High Commissioner was at the time delivering remarks during a ceremony to formalise the Indian-owned Bank of Baroda’s status as a mortgage lender. Hinting cryptically at an upcoming announcement next week that would further cement bilateral ties, he made it clear that India stands ready to help Guyana in its push for development.
“I believe that the collaboration between India and Guyana is in such a phase where we both understand each other, we both respond to each other’s concerns, and we’re ready and willing to work with Guyana in its development,” he said.

A US$12.7 million contract to construct a vessel was signed between India and Guyana

“You would have seen recently (that) we donated about 80,000 vaccines to the Guyanese people. This is just a part of our vaccine friendship that the Government of India has undertaken across the world. We continue to work with the Government of Guyana, helping them to procure more vaccines.”
Besides the vaccines, the High Commissioner recalled other instances in which assistance was provided to Guyana. And he touted another area where India could be of assistance to Guyana – financial management.
“Last year we were able to donate US$1 M to help them with COVID infrastructure. They got about 35 ventilators from India. These are things that go a long way into cementing our relationship,” the Indian High Commissioner said.
“And I want to stress that this occasion will lay the scene for further collaboration in the financial sector, and I can strongly emphasise here that the expertise that financial institutions in India have in dealing with such matters will be very helpful. We can share best practices with the Bank of Guyana or the Finance Ministry.
Guyana and India, which established bilateral relations in 1966 following Guyana’s Independence, have strong diplomatic and economic ties that are bolstered by several high-level deals brokered through India’s diplomatic presence in Guyana.
One such project is the Ogle-Diamond bypass road project, which will see construction of a total of 26 kilometres of road linking two of the country’s main thoroughfares. This new road link will also be connected to key communities in Georgetown and along the East Bank of Demerara. These include Diamond, Mocha and Eccles – all on the East Bank – and Aubrey Barker Road in Georgetown. These connections will prove crucial in diverting traffic.
And it was only in January that the governments of Guyana and India signed a US$12.7 million contract for construction of a spanking new ocean-going passenger and cargo vessel to ply the North-West District-Georgetown route. This is part of a US$18 million project being funded by the Indian Government through a US$8 million grant and US$10 million Line of Credit (LOC).
Public Works Minister Juan Edghill had reminded that former President Donald Ramotar had, under the last PPP/C Administration, secured funding from the Indian Government for the vessel, but no significant progress had been made in the last five years.
“The money for the ferry was available. We came back to office five years later, no contract was awarded and signed, no ferry was built, and the monies (were) still available,” Minister Edghill had asserted.
It has been noted that the US$12.7 million will be disbursed in three tranches to the contractor, GRES. An advanced payment of 20 per cent of the contract sum; that is, US$2,253,601, will be paid in the coming days; and then 40 per cent – amounting to US$5,239,901 – will be released later this year at various construction milestone dates.
It was further explained that the final sum of the remaining 40 per cent will be disbursed in 2022 after the installation of the main engines and steering systems, and upon receipt and acceptance of the vessel. (G3)