By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – In an unprecedented move, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) has offered to sell its shares in the Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI) to the Government of Guyana.
This was announced by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo during a post cabinet media briefing on Wednesday, October 21, where he explained that the Government has given Finance Minister, Winston Jordan the nod to initiate the process.
The 10% shares in the company are valued at some $45M but the Government is looking for a better price, said Nagamootoo. It was explained that a “broad feeler” has been set in motion for any other shareholder(s) that would seek to use the option of selling their shares to the BBCI.
Nagamootoo pointed out that already a major shareholder has raised a flag, indicating willingness to relinquish shares in the company to the Government.
The Principals of the company and the APNU+AFC administration are currently at odds over a refusal by the company to lower its tolls with a government subsidy.
Lowering the tolls for the bridge would see the fulfillment of an incremental campaign promise made by the 6-Party coalition government. Instead of lowering of the tolls, the government has since had to resort to the use of speed boats as a means of getting people across the river in a more cost effective manner.
BBCI had rejected the subvention stating that it was not consulted on the process and would have to seek the advice of all of its shareholders before it could make a decision on the matter.
The company also argued that the subvention being provided by the government does not cater for a planned increase in the tolls. It was argued too that should the company move ahead with the reduction and accept the subvention, it runs the risk of having to file for bankruptcy.