Do not be surprised if traffic into the mining town decreases and the cost of transportation increases, along with the cost of living within Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) and its surrounding environs, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo indicated.
In light of these added expenses to the general public, he noted that these outcomes are inevitable and will only result in the continued hardship of the ordinary man to sustain a livelihood.
During a news conference recently at the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Headquarters Freedom House, Jagdeo strongly criticised the Government for imposing yet another burdensome fee as he struggled to comprehend the rationale of Government’s decision.
“This will bring hardships to the people of Linden, why would you want to do something like that. People will minimise passing through there… it would mean probably higher fares, it would mean more increase in cost of living because goods that they take over will cost more. Why would you want to do that now,” he pondered.
Jagdeo remarked that this is yet another of the many counterproductive policies of the Government which only resulted in additional suffering for the Guyanese public.
Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan has approved the payment of 18 different categories of tolls to be paid to the Linden Town Council (LTC) for the use of its roads.
The resolution was approved by Minister Bulkan last Thursday and the information has since been officially gazetted.
The by-laws introduced by Minister Bulkan not only impose the need for the payment of the tolls, but creates offences should this new regime be breached.
According to the by-laws, “Every vehicle specified in the schedule shall stop at a paying point at the toll station and the owner or person in charge of the vehicle shall pay in the full corresponding toll for the vehicle to the toll collector in local currency.”
Under the newly approved by-laws, the Council, subject to the approval of the Minister, will be able to amend the schedule to add or remove categories of vehicles to be included.
The tolls to be charged under the by-laws will not exclude persons living in Linden, though there is accommodation.
According to the gazetted by-laws, the affected vehicles that are registered in the name of a person living in Linden shall pay a toll determined by the Council twice a year in January and July.
Vehicles which had been identified to attract a toll, but are transporting essential supplies for the Government, shall be exempted by the Council from the payment of each toll upon notification and certification by the Regional Democratic Council of the vehicle to the Council.
Meanwhile, offences for the refusal of the payment of tolls have been created under the by-laws for breach of the payment of tolls and also makes provision for the detention of the vehicle of a delinquent road user.
According to the by-laws, in addition to the penalties imposed for refusing to pay, “the toll collector, in the event that a toll demanded is not honoured, may impound the vehicle and release the vehicle after the sum has been paid in full.”
Additionally, the toll collector or the designated officer may release information to the Council or Town Constabulary on any vehicle in respect of number plate, colour, make, type or model, or in respect of any person passing through the toll station and the information shall be confidential, according to the by-laws.
Reports indicate that the municipality will cash in on approximately $3 million monthly from the payment of these tolls.