Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo officially inaugurated the Brazilian-financed $5 million Takutu River Bridge in the Brazilian town of Bon Fin. The bridge is expected to facilitate tourism and trade between the two countries and give seaport access to the landlocked Brazilian state of Roraima.
Both presidents spoke of stronger bilateral ties and plans for future collaborations. The bridge “is the first physical link between two countries which for so long have turned their backs to each other, said the Brazilian President. “We are integrating Guyana and Brazil bringing prosperity to our people.” The Guyanese President called the opening a “dream come true after more than a generation of anticipation."
At the inauguration, Lula talked of a potential 350-mile (560-kilometer) road that would link the bridge with Guyana’s capital, Georgetown. He also discussed the construction of the Lethem to Linden highway, which will link Boa Vista in northern Brazil to Georgetown and expressed his commitment to the 800-megawatt hydropower plant in Guyana. Trade between the two countries has almost doubled in the past four years, up to $17.8 million in 2008, according to the Guyanese President.