8 Guyanese return from Suriname as ferry service resumes today

Persons arriving in Guyana from Suriname
Persons arriving in Guyana from Suriname today

Several Guyanese, who have been left stranded in neighbouring Suriname for almost one year following the closure of Guyana’s borders in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, returned home today as the ferry service between Moleson Creek, Corentyne and South Drain, Suriname resumes.

MB Sadanka, which is being used in the absence of MV Canawaima that is currently in Paramaribo undergoing maintenance works, left Guyana at 09:00h today with eight persons on board.

The vessel returned to local shores around 12:00h, bringing back another eight passengers to Guyana.

Public Works Minister Juan Edghill with one of the passengers who returned from Suriname 

Prior to the vessel leaving, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill did a thorough walk-through to ensure that all protocols including health and safety measures were in place for the resumption of the ferry service.

According to Minister Edghill, the team there wanted to make sure that “…we have all the systems in place to ensure that those who are arriving on our shore don’t pose any risks to the nation’s health.”

He explained that if they had not resumed the Guyana/Suriname ferry service, then the government would have had to facilitate a repatriation trip since a “significant number of Guyanese” in the Dutch country have been making requests to the Foreign Affairs Ministry to return home.

Nevertheless, with the reopening of the ferry service – only to citizens of Guyana and Suriname, the Public Works Minister has implored travellers to comply with all of the regulations in place including social distancing on the vessel and in the terminal building.

In order to travel, passengers must have a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (PCR test), and this must be taken within 72 hours of travel.

Guyanese can receive PCR tests at all approved medical institutions conducting PCR Test in Guyana while Guyanese in Suriname can conduct their testing at Suriname’s Public Hospital and MeDiLab in Paramaribo.

Passengers are also asked to have all their travel documents required to travel to Suriname prior to COVID-19.

This service will operate every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday until further notice. Diplomat residents in Guyana and in Suriname will be facilitated upon request through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of both countries.

Another passenger being screened by health officers 

The reopening of the ferry service between the two countries was announced following the drowning of three persons who were returning from Suriname via a back track route.

The trio was reportedly left Suriname to return home via a backtrack route and was dropped off at sandbank in the Corentyne River in the wee hours of February 9, 2021 in waist-high water.

While the bodies of 75-year-old Baduni Harrier called ‘Dorris’ of Number Two Village East Canje, Berbice and 31-year-old Alwin Joseph of Suriname were found the following day, 48-year-old Sharida Hussein called ‘Sherry’ of Pilot Street New Amsterdam is still missing.