By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – After months of back and forth between the Guyana Government the Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI) – Berbicians and users of the Berbice Bridge might have an early Christmas with tolls being reduced possibly from December 01.
BBCI had earlier rejected a proposal by the Government to provide a $36M subsidy in exchange for the lowering of the tolls.
BBCI had argued that if it had accepted the proposed deal, it runs the risk of having to file for insolvency and made a counter proposal to increase the tolls by a substantial amount.
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson when questioned by iNews at a press conference on November 16, revealed that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is soon to be dispatched to the Company.
If the Company finds the terms and agreements favourable, it will accept laying the final block for the toll reduction to come into being.
“The MOU has been dispatched has been dispatched or will be dispatched,” said Patterson later adding, “if successful we hope to start the reduce tolls on 1st December, 2015.”
Lowering the tolls for the bridge would see the fulfillment of an incremental campaign promise made by the 6-Party coalition government.
When BBCI refused to lower the tolls, the government had to resort to the use of speedboats (river taxis) as a means of getting people across the river in a more cost effective manner. This was consequent to BBCI rejecting the subvention.
Finance Minister, Winston Jordan told the National Assembly that the toll for passenger cars and buses will be reduced from $2,200 to $1,900, a 13.6 percent decline.
Simultaneously, the toll for all other types of vehicles will be reduced by 10 percent. That was the announcement made by Jordan on August 10, 2015 during the budget presentation.