The news about the restart of operations of the Guyana-Suriname ferry service has been greeted with a mixture of relief and enthusiasm by commuters and companies on both sides of the Corentyne River. 

Both the relief and the enthusiasm underscore the importance of the connectivity between the territories and reveal the extent of the inconvenience suffered during the period of the suspension of the Canawaima ferry service. 

This is according to the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA).  Figures released by the GTA point to increases in traffic between Guyana and Suriname. Passage through South Drain, on the Suriname side, and Moleson Creek, on the Guyana side reflects travels originating in Suriname, French Guiana as well as in other points of origin in South America. Given this state of affairs, the GTA is convinced that a cross-river facility is indispensable to any flow of traffic originating beyond Guyana’s eastern border. 

It was with this in mind that the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Business recently convened a Task Force to organize a Tourism Expo of the Guianas which is scheduled for the first weekend in February 2020. As part of the planning for this event, a Tourism delegation from Guyana visited Paramaribo and Suriname to meet tourism stakeholders, share and listen to perspectives regarding the Guianas as a single geo-destination. In discussions in both Suriname and French Guiana, the matter of connectivity loomed large. While there are four or more air carriers connecting Guyana and Suriname, the ferry link was seen as important to the viability of the Guianas concept, second only in significance to the construction of an actual bridge that links Guyana with Suriname, the GTA revealed. 

Moreover, restoration of the ferry service is welcome. However, GTA noted that critical to the ease of travel between the territories is the need for rules and requirements that govern trans-border movement. Most desirable is that such arrangements, whether relating to visas, movement of goods, leisure or business travel, must occur with the minimum of hassle or inconvenience to the travelling public. GTA has therefore suggested the need for “a total systems review which would look at all aspects of the travel experience to ensure that security and control are not achieved at the expense of passenger comfort and convenience.”


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