Govt slammed for ‘covert decision’ to increase Harbour Bridge tolls

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  • Opposition urges Govt to rescind such ‘cruel, crass and insensitive’ increase in the tolls

Government’s proposed toll increases for the Demerara Harbour Bridge, effective January 1, 2017 has been met with strong criticisms and thorough condemnation by the Opposition in Parliament.

These shocking announcement of the proposed increases were made today, Wednesday, by the Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson during the perusal of the estimates of that Ministry.

Opposition Member of Parliament Irfaan Ali, who is also the PPP/C’s representative for Region Three, has made strong objections to such increases in the tolls, making it clear that the coalition Government “must not be allowed to tax its people into poverty”.

irfaan“I strongly condemn and object to a covert decision taken by the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government to massively increase the tolls charged for vehicles to cross the Demerara Habour Bridge following the passage of the 2016 National Budget,” Ali said in a statement this evening.

“While I noted that Finance Minister Winston Jordan did not specifically list these increases amongst the plethora of draconian taxes that are being levied on ordinary and poor Guyanese as well as businesses which were contained in the 2016 Budget, it was his junior colleague Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Annette Ferguson who made the shocking revelations,” he noted.

As a representative of the hard working, law abiding and decent citizens of Region Three, Ali said it is his fervent belief that these increases will negatively affect the Region’s economy and will result in additional hardships being faced by the populace there.

“It is also my view that these increases will adversely affect businesses in the Region which are already struggling to survive given the Government’s mismanagement of the economy,” he posited.

According to Ali, these additional toll increases/taxes, which amount in some areas to between 100 to 300 percent, can only affect the livelihoods of ordinary citizens. They also come on the heels of proposals to add a 14% tax to electricity and water in the Region.

Ali said this move by Government is harsh, spiteful, and repressive. “It also represents a new wave of ‘jumbie economics’ which is being practiced by a very secretive and corrupt coalition Government,” he asserted.

“I call on the Government to immediately abandon its plans to increase the Habour Bridge tolls and a complete reversal of any similar proposal that will throw Region Three’s economy into a recession.  The Government must not be allowed to tax its people into poverty,” he stated.

Meanwhile, a statement from the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, this evening describes the increase as “most cruel, crass and insensitive” adding that “this measure will add to the nearly 200 odd measures, which have been imposed upon the backs of the Guyanese people in the year 2016.”

The tolls are slated to be increased from January 1, 2017.

The increases are as follows:

Motorcycles- $20 to $40

Motor Car – $100 to $200

Motor Car (Hire)- $100 to $200

Motor Tractors- $200 to $300

Motor Lorry- $500 to $700

One Axel Trailers-$200 to $300

Hearse- $100 to $300

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