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THURSDAY, 05 APRIL 2012 20:56 BY SAMUEL SUKHNANDAN- GUYANA CORRESPONDENT
The Governments of Guyana and Suriname are taking steps towards regional integration, with a recent re-launch of Suriname Airways to Georgetown, Guyana after a six-year absence.
In keeping with CARICOM's Single Market and Economy (CSME) mandate, presidents of both countries met on Tuesday in Guyana, to launch the return of airline.
Guyanese President Donald Ramotar dubbed the initiative "ground-breaking" stating that it stands to benefit both countries.
"This shows that Guyana and Surinam is taking very seriously, our commitment to integration of our countries economies and CARICOM as a whole," Ramotar stated.
The Guyanese leader is convinced that the re-launch will help create investment opportunities and boost tourism for both countries, both based on their geographic location and ties to the Caribbean region.
Suriname's Head of State Desi Bouterse said that the two countries have been leading the way in the process of regional and South American integration, in many ways. "Our two countries have made great progress in the field of land connectivity, for example through the implementation of the ferry service between Canawaima and Springlands," Bouterse stated.
Guyana and Suriname are also currently weighing options for the construction of a bridge in the Corentyne River, Berbice, in attempts to tackle border crime. Guyanese are reportedly the second largest group to visit Suriname; with an increase in the last two years, Suriname authorities said.
Suriname Airways will now be offering non-stop flights from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) in Georgetown to Miami. It will fly to several other destinations including Europe and Brazil and offer flights from Georgetown to Paramaribo twice a week, on Tuesday and Saturday.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by Caricom's Secretary General Irwin LaRoque, Suriname's Minister of Transport, Industry and Communication Falisie Pinas and other officials of both the Surinamese and Guyanese governments along with business and tourism stakeholders.