Private Sector against unilateral decrease of Berbice Bridge toll

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By Tracey Khan-Drakes 

PS[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Private Sector in Guyana has come out against any unilateral move by the next government to reduce the toll of the Berbice Bridge Company.

This is according to President of the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association, Clinton Williams who was at the time part of a panel discussion on Hard Talk aired on 90.1 Love FM on Sunday, April 12.

Williams does not seem convinced by the Opposition Coalition’s promise that if it becomes the next Government following the upcoming May 11, general and regional elections it will cut the toll by half.

He was almost amused as he spoke of this promise, and made the point that the focus of the Private Sector is more on the manifesto of the Party rather than what is said on the campaign trail. The Coalition is yet to release its manifesto since the APNU is working with the AFC to merge both manifestos into one.

He also made the point that if the Opposition does indeed go in this direction, then Public/ Private Partnership in the future would be in jeopardy.

“No businessman would want to get into business with the Government as a public private partnership if in fact this is going to be the trend.” 

In addition to Williams, the Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Ramesh Persaud was also part of the discussion and echoed similar sentiments. the extended part of the Berbice river bridge under construction

“A unilateral decrease in toll by the government or any government will not be received very well by private business, and it’s tantamount to price control and any such unilateral decision, governments need to be very careful of and I believe there are adequate mechanisms in the entire Berbice Bridge deal…that provides for information to be shared between the government and the Board and there are formulas that are in place how such decisions are to be made.” 

While the key players in the sector do not seem to be against the move, Persaud made the point that, “it must be done in unison with the investors.”

The political Opposition has been fighting since it gained its one seat majority following the 2011 elections to lower the toll as calls continue to mount from Berbicians in this regard.

However, government continues to object to this move noting that the bridge is privately controlled and therefore government does not have the authority to lower tolls.  The Opposition’s argument is that the bridge, which was commissioned in December 2008, was built with significant investment by the government of Guyana on behalf of the people and now managed by the BBCI.

Government through its investment arm, the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Ltd is a preferential shareholder and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bridge Company.

Since its commissioning in 2008, the Berbice Bridge has facilitated crossing of over 650,000 vehicles resulting in annual revenue of over $1.5B.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I man gree wid u Celestica!
    We kyant bring back de ferry.
    The incompetent palmtreePNCites bruk up Torani.
    Torani nearly float away in de Atlantic ocean.
    Dem barely ketch it by de riva mout.

  2. Not CACKEY, It’s Hawkeye. He is one of Felix soldiers. The PNC will rig and break any and everything. Young Guyanese need to know that they cannot live without technologies. PNC will take Guyana back to the dark ages.
    PPP is about Modernization, and Technology. I say vote PPP .

  3. The PNC Blessed us with debt to the tune of two Billion US dollar.
    The PPP/C build up a treasury.
    Get your facts straight and don’t belch nonsense.

  4. The PNC brought the Sugar factory into disrepair.
    When I worked at the Sugar Estate under British trained managers and engineers, the factory was top notch.
    WHAT HAPPEN ?
    WHY IT RUN DOWN?
    Well Burnham decide to put his PNC square pegs to run the factory.
    Well what did the fools done?
    They went to the condemn scraps in the back of the factory and refurbish.
    They want to show the white man that they are better and can save a lot of money.
    I can swear under oath for this and I can give names also!
    Tell me people how can old rusted spare parts run a Turbine?
    Those were the days of the PNC.
    Now cut the income of the Toll Bridge, it will fall into disrepair and fall in the Berbice River.

  5. We ppp is more smart, when we done thief all de money, there would have none left, so how pnc would have money to give out for all them things eh?

  6. ramjattan on his promise said he will cut that bridge..jagdeo bridge in four and fling om in the river but the bridge stil there up to now..we pnc cutting the bridge and de tool..we pnc will done away wid sugar and mind talapya..we pnc giving one helicpoter per family..we pnc giving one house to every married couple..we pnc will never allow mosquitoes to bite people fuh tea breakfast dinner..we pnc giving free education free books free transport to all those who want to go to school..we pnc giving pensioners 50% increase free water electricity and 20% increase for public servants and a 10% increase for private sector workers..come election day vote we pnc..first 1000 years in office we will deliver on our promise..

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