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Feasibility study for Linden to Mabura phase for December completion

first_imgLinden to Lethem Road ProjectThe feasibility study for the construction of the 125 kilometre of road from Linden to Mabura, as well as the Kurupukari Bridge, is expected to be completed by the end of December 2019.The Lethem trail in a deplorable conditionThe Kurupukari River crossing where the UK-funded bridge will be constructedThe much-anticipated Linden to Lethem road project is divided into two phases: Linden to Mabura Hill and Mabura to Lethem. The United Kingdom (UK) Government is funding the first phase – Linden to Mabura including a bridge across the Essequibo River at the Kurupukari Stelling – with a $150 million grant from the £300 Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF) programme that was announced by former British Prime Minister David Cameron back in 2015.In the 2019 Mid-Year report, it was noted that the feasibility study for the Linden to Mabura road commenced in the first quarter of the year and is expected to be completed by December.Back in May, British High Commissioner Gergory Quinn had told reporters that after the design and technical assessment, a report will be handed over to the Guyana Government with two options.“It will be over to the government to decide which of those (options) it wants to use the funding that we have available on,” the British diplomat had explained.Last year, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson had revealed that the new Kurupukari bridge, located in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), will either be a single or dual lane fixed bridge – approximately 600 meters long.Currently persons travelling the Linden/Lethem trail have to cross the Essequibo River, at Kurupukari, by a privately-operated pontoon service. Kurupukari Village is located along the Lethem–Georgetown trail, about five hours from Lethem.In September 2015, former Prime Minister Cameron had announced the multi-million investment in vital new infrastructure such as roads, bridges and ports to help drive economic growth and development across the Caribbean region. Guyana was named among nine Caribbean states to benefit from the grant.In February of 2017, it was announced that Guyana had earmarked the first phase of the Linden-Lethem Road project as well as the rehabilitation of the coastal and river infrastructure in the Georgetown area to be funded by the British government.The second project would cover the reconstruction of the facilities at the major river-passenger and goods-transport hubs at Stabroek Market and Vreed-en-Hoop on the Demerara River.The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which is administering the £300 UKCIF, has set a grant of $161 million to fund a feasibility study and designs for the rehabilitation of the stellings and according to High Commissioner Quinn, the that study is ongoing and will be completed at the same time as the road study.Meanwhile, with regard to the second phase of the project, Mabura Hill and Lethem, the Guyana Government is currently looking at its bilateral partners for funding.In July last year, a ministerial team from Guyana visited their counterparts in neighbouring Brazil during which it was agreed that both countries will provide financial resources for the engineering and design of the Linden-Lethem road, which is often in deplorable conditions as a result of heavy rainfalls causing persons traversing the trail much difficulties.It was reported that the two countries will be working closely with the People’s Republic of China to access a $50 billion China Select Fund to complete the second phase of the critical piece of infrastructure that holds great potential in terms of integrating the two countries and improving trade between the neighbours and the Caribbean.Back in July last year, Guyana and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, paving the way for cooperation of several infrastructural projects including the Linden to Lethem road project.The agreement was signed by former Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge and Chinese Ambassador Cui Jianchun in commemoration of 47 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.Greenidge had hinted at the possibility of the often deplorable Linden-Lethem Highway being financed under this initiative.“We have been speaking to all bilateral and multilateral partners. During our discussions with the Brazilians, we did discuss and explored the possibility of using funding from the Latin America China Funds to fund the road. That is something very much on the cards and something we are working on,” he had indicated.According to Ambassador, the signing of the MoU marks a new and promising chapter to the bilateral relationship enjoyed by the two countries as it will bring mutual benefits and a brighter future for the two countries.The Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, a significant development strategy launched by the Chinese government with the intention of promoting economic co-operation among countries along the proposed Belt and Road routes. The Initiative has been designed to enhance the orderly free-flow of economic factors and the efficient allocation of resources. It is also intended to further market integration and create a regional economic co-operation framework of benefit to all.last_img

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