By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Suriname’s House Speaker Dr. Jennifer Geerlings-Simons in wrapping up the first day of her three day visit to Guyana has underscored the importance of maintaining friendly relations as neighboring countries.
“Your neighbors should always be your friend, let me put it a little stronger, your neighbor better be your friend otherwise your life might not be that happy,” Dr. Simons told a gathering mixed with Guyanese and Surinamese Parliamentary Counterparts at a reception on Thursday evening (October 24).
Her comments come at a time when an apparent tension seems to be looming over the Guyana/Venezuela relationship following the seizure of a US ship by the Venezuelan Navy in Guyana’s economic maritime zone. Venezuela is Guyana’s neighbor to the west while Suriname is Guyana’s neighbor to the east.
At the reception hosted by Guyana’s Parliament to welcome the Surinamese delegation, Dr. Jennifer Geerlings-Simons called for the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries to further the development between the two states.
She was at the time however, reiterating a call that was made prior to her remarks by Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds.
The Prime Minister in his address reminded of previous sentiments expressed by Suriname’s President Dési Bouterse , Former President of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo and President Donald Ramotar that the two countries should concentrate on building on areas that would bring them together.
“The Government of Guyana remains committed to sustaining the dialogue between our two countries towards the preservation of the relationship of friendship with Government and the people of the two countries,” PM Hinds said.
Dr. Geerlings-Simons visit is in response to an invitation extended by Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman.
According to Trotman, his invitation is in keeping with the commitment made by the previous Speaker, Ralph Ramkarran. Trotman in a previous statement emphasized that the nature of the visit should go beyond “merely meeting” with key members of the Government and the Opposition, and posited that it should formally establish a Guyana-Suriname Association to enhance relations between the two parliaments and peoples.