[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Parliamentary Opposition has delivered yet another distinctive example of their well-known anti-development stance in objecting to the recently approved West Coast Demerara road project. This massive modernisation project that will encompass from Vreed-En-Hoop to Hydronie, East Bank Essequibo will entail total resurfacing, and general works to make the road safer.
Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn, in responding to threats by the Opposition that the Works Minister will suffer the consequences for unapproved spending during the suspension of the National Assembly, said this move by the Opposition surmises that the APNU specifically is anti-development.
“I can only look with continued disappointment and resignation when one looks at the statements that the Opposition has made in the Kaieteur News… I would remind and say that these projects are for the benefit of the people of Guyana and the statements they made for the West Coast Demerara road, the East Coast and West Bank and East Bank Demerara four-lane expansion, indicate that they are on the path for destabilisation and bring to a halt the development of the country for narrow political ends…I am prepared to suffer any consequences once it leads to the further development and progress of our country in a clearly positive way,” Minister Benn pointed out.
On November 22, the Ministry inked a US $46,789,000 contract with several contractors for varying aspects of the road improvement project, paving the way for a massive transformation of the West Coast Highway.
The road network’s upgrade will cater for pavement rehabilitation, road widening, and separation lanes for cyclists and pedestrians, installation of traffic signs, traffic lights and road markings, replacement of the Groenveldt bridge, relocation of utilities and general repairs.
Minister Benn reiterated that the spending of funds for the West Demerara road and the continued spending for the four-lane expansion and other road works were approved by Guyana’s parliament, and the Opposition which has a majority in Parliament.
Specifically, he said with respect to the West Coast Demerara road, monies were approved during the 2014 National Budget. “It is rather strange now that we are executing a contract for which funding was provided, some $810 million in the 2014 budget, they are crying foul for something they approved,” the minister added.
“They also mentioned the airport expansion project, this project, the initial advances were approved in the Parliament by all parties concerned and we also provided the contract document, the feasibility study and the environmental assessment in the Parliament to all the parties with respect to this project…They want to hold back the development of these communities and bring to a halt the economic development of this country,” Minister Benn added, while emphasising that this infrastructure project provides a vehicle, a mechanism and a means of making this development possible and sustainable.
He further noted that Government has taken specific decisions with its development projects, along with international partners, the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the European Union (EU), in that it (government) has moved contracting along a path where national contractors, along with regional contractors have been fostered and developed. [Extracted and modified from GINA]