Berbice River Bridge contract is not favourable to travelling public – Harmon

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By Fareeza Haniff

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of State, Joseph Harmon is of the view that the contract of the Berbice River Bridge is more favourable and friendly to some of the investors than the country at large.

He told reporters on Friday, September 04, shortly after his post Cabinet media briefing that the contract was not done in a transparent process since it was never made public and was never subject to any public debate or involvement.

The Minister’s comments come at a time when there is an impasse between the APNU+AFC government and the officials of the Bridge Company, who have since refused to implement the government’s proposed reduction in the toll.

“So the terms of that contract itself, when you look at it, sometimes you find that the terms and conditions are not favourable to the country at large. It is very friendly, very favourable to some of the investors. I suppose at that time, different considerations were exercised in trying to find persons who could invest in the Bridge itself,” Harmon said.

He further explained that the contract does not take into account the travelling population.

“But certainly, the conditions as I see it…are super favourable to the investors and it really does not take into account enough, the travelling public and the institutional investors such as the National Insurance Scheme.”Berbice Bridge

“Those investments I believe are not sufficiently protected under this arrangement and that the NIS stand to be the company or the entity most affected by any meltdown in this regard.”

The government has since decided to introduce a River Taxi Service for residents on the West and East Bank of Berbice. Government had announced a reduced toll structure which was slated to take effect on September 01, but the officials from the Company refused to implement it on the grounds that millions of dollars will be lost to investors and government did not consult with them.

The administration is providing a monthly subsidy to the Company to compensate for the loss, but this too was refused, resulting in a stalemate between the two sides.

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan had 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.

At the same time, the toll for all other types of vehicles will be reduced by 10 percent. The Finance Minister revealed that over 150,000 Guyanese live within Regions 5 and 6 and traverse the Berbice Bridge to access education and health services, conduct business and travel on a daily basis and that thousands more traverse the bridge annually.

But the Bridge Company on August 29 had stated that it runs the risk of going bankrupt if the reduction takes effect, pointing out that no consultation was held with the Company officials prior to the reduction being announced.

10 COMMENTS

  1. The access road you refer to would just have been another of the many roads, including access roads, that the former administrations built while in office. What makes that access road too expensive to build? Pointless and selective! Secondly, the figure you quoted is incorrect. I used (roughly) $2000 times 22 working days to arrive at $44,000, not $4400. That is $44,000 per month to use the bridge. If I were to use $2200 instead then it would be $48,400 per month, driving home my point even faster. Thank you for saying nothing else.

  2. DWAYNE , YOU ARE MAKING SOME ILL- INFORMED COMMENTS ABOUT THIS BRIDGE . I WOULD LIKE TO ENLIGHTEN YOU ON TWO POINTS FOR NOW . FIRST OF ALL , IF THE BRIDGE WAS BUILT AT THE NARROW PART OF THE RIVER, IT WOULD HAVE REQUIRED MILLIONS OF US DOLLARS TO BUILD THE ACCESS ROADS TO THE BRIDGE. THIS WOULD HAVE EFFECTIVELY CANCELLED WHATEVER SAVINGS THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ACCRUED FROM THE BUILDING OF THE BRIDGE AT THAT SITE. NEXT, YOU TALK ABOUT THE 4400 DOLLARS RETURN TRIP FOR VEHICLES CROSSING THE BRIDGE. EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT LIVING IN GUYANA, YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT THE 2200 PAID FOR CROSSING IS REALLY THE RETURN TRIP. I WOULD SAY NO MORE EXCEPT TO ADVISE YOU THAT LET BUSINESS BE BUSINESS.

  3. Are you forgetting BAR RAT is responsible for colossal mess he and his HENCHMEN.? Don’t be disgusted with Granger be disgusted with the THIEVES who ran the country into the ground. Which leaves the new administration to clean up the mess.

  4. John i bet you are not living in Guyana, where were you when the people had to wait for days at the stelling to cross the river. time is money and spending all those hours there was waste of money and time. So shut the hell up I had to get the 6:30 boat to reach to work for 8:00 and still late because of the boat.

  5. JOHN CURBIE, YOU ARE NOT IN A POSITION TO MAKE AN ASSESSMENT ON THE CORRECT TOLL FOR CARS. ONLY A FEASIBILITY STUDY CAN DETERMINE THAT. THE GOVT PROMISED TO DROP THE TOLL WITHOUT SEEING THE CONTRACT.NOW THEY HAVE RUN INTO A BIG SNAG FOR THEIR ILL- ADVISED ACTIONS. NOW THE GOVT INTENDS TO OPERATE A WATER TAXI SERVICE WITHOUT DOING A FEASIBILITY STUDY . IT IS POSSIBLE THAT GOVT WILL BE WASTING SCARCE TAXPAYERS DOLLARS IN THIS VENTURE , SOMETHING LIKE THE GEORGETOWM ROSIGNOL BIG BUS SERVICE . I HAVE MY REASONS FOR BELIEVING THAT THIS WILL BE A FAILED VENTURE . BUT AS I SAID , YOU JUST DON’T RUSH INTO A BUSINESS LIKE THAT WITHOUT DOING A FEASIBILITY STUDY.

  6. Booby you real stupidy. How can one justify using the rate paid to cross a ferry that took more than two hrs to be used for a less than 5 min stroll across Berbice bridge. Bare face robbery to the nation. The toll in my assessment should be 1000 for cars.

    Bring the water ferry it will cost 100 to cross as against 300 by bus.

    Wasn’t there a feasibility study done to determine return on investment to satisfied the investor. It boggles the mind that we c as we are told you can have such huge recorded loss over this short period.

  7. If the bridge was built at the narrow part of the river it would not have cost that much to build and probably the funds from nis would have been sufficient. The time to regain capital and ptofit would have been longer resulting in much lower rates to cross. This would have excluded friends and family of the previous administration from making minimum investment for maximum profits. The bridge was indeed conceived to enrich a few. A return trip on the bridge daily would total to over $44000 using working days only. To put it in perspective, that was more than the minimum wage and just off the non taxable earning. Poor people can’t use this bridge except if they use public transportation.

  8. HOW CAN THE CONTRACT BE FAVOURABLE TO THE INVESTORS WHEN THEY HAVE LOST OVER 1.5 BILLION UP TO 2014 AND THEY ARE ON THE BRINK OF BANKRUPTCY ?

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