Minister Patterson refuses to meet with Berbice Bridge Company to discuss possible sale

AFC's David Patterson

Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson has refused to meet with officials of the Berbice Bridge Company Inc. (BBCI) to discuss his government’s offer to purchase the Bridge.

This is according to the BBCI.

See full statement below:

The Minister of Public Infrastructure, Mr. David Paterson, having recently made a very public statement on the government owned and operated NCN that his government had offered to purchase the ownership of the Berbice River Bridge, has now formally written rejecting a request from the Bridge Company to meet to consider the government’s offer on the grounds that the matter is in Court as was previously reported in an interview with the Minister in the Stabroek News (Saturday, 31st August, 2019).

The Minister has informed BBCI that, while the government “stands ready and willing to seek a resolution regarding matters of national importance”, including the matter of the Berbice River Bridge, the government “shall continue to make representation” in Court.

The Berbice Bridge Company Inc., quite frankly, finds the government’s approach to dealing with a Public Private Partnership incomprehensible, since rather than exercise the much more preferable option of meeting and exploring a resolution of the issue, the government has chosen to proceed in Court.

The Berbice Bridge Company Inc. has consistently sought without success, since this government has taken office, to meet with the Minister to discuss a revision of its Concession Agreement.

It is precisely because of the government’s persistent refusal to respect its contractual obligations under the Concession Agreement to come to the table and address the annual adjustments to the bridge toll that the Company was left with no option but to resort to the Court.

It has always been the understanding of the Berbice Bridge Company Inc. that it is in the public interest and best business practice for parties delivering a public service who are in dispute to sit down together to seek an amicable resolution to their differences rather than proceed to litigation where there can only be one winner and one loser.

The Berbice Bridge Company Inc. is extremely disappointed in the government’s refusal to now meet and present a fair and reasonable offer to purchase the ownership of the Bridge given the Minister’s previous public statement on the matter.