– collaboration in defence, health and infrastructureThis year will mark 50 years of friendship and strong bilateral ties between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Federative Republic of Brazil, during which there has been cooperation in the areas of defence, health and public infrastructure between the two South American neighbours.With the visit of Brazil’s Defence Minister Mr. Raul Belens Jungmann Pinto and a high-level delegation on February 9, this 50-year-old relationship is set for further strengthened cooperation and collaboration.In December 2017, during President David Granger’s State visit to Brazil, the two countries inked two agreements in the form of the Complementary Agreement to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Federative Republic of Brazil. Thus was created the “Guyana-Brazil Joint Commission to Develop Infrastructure Projects” and the Complementary Agreement to the Basic Agreement on Technical Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Guyana and the Federative Republic of Brazil for the Implementation of the Project “Technologies to Reduce the Effects of the Drought in Region Nine of Guyana.” The construction of the long-awaited Linden-Lethem Road is one of the key projects expected to be advanced under this agreement.In an interview at the conclusion of that meeting, President Granger had said that, for decades, both sides had envisaged a route through Guyana which would provide better development prospects for investors to come from the Caribbean into Brazil, and from Brazil into the Caribbean.“This is something that has been long discussed. And in fact, in some parts of the Rupununi, roads were actually aligned, but we never had funding to complete it. The infrastructure agreement we are entering will be focused on fulfilling that obligation to building a road between Lethem and Linden. Brazil has done its part; Brazil has built a bridge under President Luiz DaSilva, and the road literally comes right out to the bridge. We need to do our part, so that is a very important agreement that was signed,” he said.Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge explained that, in July 2017, he and Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson had met with their respective counterparts to discuss moving the project forward. At that forum, it was agreed that both countries would provide financial resources for the engineering and design of the road.Minister Greenidge had explained at that time that this road link is a critical piece of infrastructure that holds great potential in terms of integrating the two countries and improving trade.In terms of the second agreement, the Brazilian Army will be working closely with the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) to develop its Engineering Corps. This collaboration will see the drilling of artesian wells in Indigenous communities in villages such as Para Bara, Achiwib, Karaudarnau, Aishalton, Awarewanau, Shea and Mururanau.“As we know, Rupununi is susceptible to droughts and floods, so we want to remove that uncertainty and have a system under which the communities — there are over 50 villages in the Rupununi — could be supplied with fresh water continuously during the year. And Brazilian terrain across the border is similar in many respects. So there is not only going to be a supply of physical infrastructure, but there’s also going to be a transfer of technology,” President Granger said.New EmbassyDuring their visit to Brazil in July 2017, Minister Greenidge and Minister Patterson had also turned the sod to mark the construction of a permanent building for the Guyana Embassy in Brazil. This was done in an effort to further solidify the relations between the two nations.