By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues – Birkett on Thursday (February 27) informed the National Assembly that the Government will commence briefings in the next few weeks with the Parliamentary Political Parties and other stakeholders regarding a pre- feasibility and feasibility studies that are required to be taken to facilitate hydropower development in the Middle and Upper Mazaruni.
This is as a direct result of the progress made under the Guyana – Brazil Cooperation for the development of key infrastructural projects in Guyana, including road networks, the construction of a Deep Water Port and Hydropower facilities.
The Minister made it clear that the Government was only setting out to do feasibility studies and no decision will be taken until the studies have been completed, on which the House will be fully briefed.
On December 5, 2012 the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on infrastructural development, with the aim of stimulating projects, following which a Guyana – Brazil Technical Working Group was established with the mandate to produce proposals for concrete actions as well as time tables for the implementation of the projects and to be presented to the president of both States in the first quarter of 2013.
According to Rodrigues – Birkett, after four meeting the group submitted its report in July 2013 to President Donald Ramotar and Dilma Rousseff.
Among its recommendations were, in relation to the Linden Lethem road, to implement the work already done and for and engineering design on the road to be completed in order to advance the project.
The Minister told the House that with respect to hydropower development, the group recommended that pre-feasibility and feasibility studies be carried out at two sites in the Middle and Upper Mazaruni in order to make final determination on the way forward.
Further, concerning the development of a Deep Water Port, it was recognised that the road and the port are separate projects but they are interrelated since the port will be dependent in part on goods coming from Brazil.
The Minister said it was estimated that this route will reduce time and costs associated with export from the north of Brazil.
“It was felt that if there is positive movement with the road and hydropower development, there will be automatic interest in the port by the private sector.”
The report was endorsed by both Presidents. The commission is chaired on the Guyana side by Ambassador Elisabeth Harper.