Dr Surendra Persaud, who had pushed for toll increases at the Berbice Bridge Company Inc (BBCI) in order to avert the company from becoming bankrupt, has been replaced as the Chairman.
The new BBCI Chairman is the current Chairman of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), John Seeram. Back in December, Seeram was appointed the new Chairman of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) after the life of the Dr Persaud’s Board ended.
Dr Persaud, who was a strong advocate for the Alliance for Change during the 2015 elections, took on Government when he announced new tolls for the Berbice Bridge.
The then Chairman had disclosed that BBCI was facing bankruptcy and as such, proposed to increase its tolls, as much 300 per cent in some cases, to keep the Berbice Bridge afloat. He said Government’s refusal to entertain consultations on the toll hike which would have prevented the continuing heavy financial losses of BBCI forced the company to announce the increases.
A move which was strongly opposed by Government, which called the toll hikes burdensome and draconian, and eventually, on November 5, 2018, took over operations of the facility to stop the BBCI’s increase from taking effect on November 12.
While Government still assumes responsibility for the operation of the bridge to date, the bridge company in November had moved to the High Court, asking it to grant several orders to reverse the takeover and bar the Minister from carrying out functions of maintaining and operating the bridge.
That matter is still being heard in the High Court and is coming up for hearing on February 26.