By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Leader of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Bharrat Jagdeo is advocating for the APNU+AFC government to buyout the Berbice River Bridge from its shareholders if it is serious about reducing the tolls.
Jagdeo made the suggestion at a press conference held at Freedom House on Friday, September 25, where he revealed that the government has enough money to reach a settlement with the Bridge Company.
The toll reduction was slated to be reduced since September 01, but the BBCI has refused to do so amid claims that it runs the risk of becoming bankrupt.
The Company also chastised the government for arriving at such a decision, without first consulting with the Bridge officials and rushing to fulfill a promise which it made to the electorate during its election campaign.
The APNU+AFC administration has however set aside $36M as a subsidy for the BBCI this year. This too was rejected by the officials but according to Jagdeo, he recently met with members of the Berbice business community, who are urging the PPP to get involved in the negotiations.
Jagdeo used the opportunity to criticize the government for subsidizing the toll with $36M while “$60M was budgeted for the Prime Minister to fix up his house and to buy a vehicle.”
“So they had more room to do much more in relation to the Bridge; you still have about $30B in the semi autonomous agencies – the so called private accounts that the government can transfer anytime and should have transferred based on their election promise. There is still about $30B held out there that they can use, I think, if they want, to negotiate a settlement and take back the bridge,” Jagdeo told the news conference.
He reiterated that there is a lot of room for discussion.
“I think they need to sit down and talk and find a solution so they can fulfill their electoral promise and we’ll support anything that brings down the fare for the Berbice Bridge… any solution that they come up with in the Parliament that treats everyone fairly,” the Opposition Leader noted.