…advocates Govt. buyout
Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo, has said that he would not oppose the Berbice Bridge toll being lowered. He is also promoting a buyout of the private equity in the Bridge by Government.
Jagdeo, as he hosted a press conference at Freedom House, yesterday, said that his position stems from the promise and advocacy of the coalition A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Government. He wants to see if they can deliver on their promise, he said.
The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), according to Jagdeo, “never promised a reduction of the toll in the (elections) campaign…The PPP could have easily committed a reduction in the toll.”
Jagdeo said that the then government had looked at what the persons paid to cross the Berbice River using the ferry service. “They were paying $1,500 for a vehicle already and they had to also pay for every passenger in the vehicle.”
According to Jagdeo, what is being charged by the Berbice Bridge Company is similar to what was being paid to use the ferry service, “but the benefit of it is that people can move at their convenience.”
He was adamant that it is the APNU+AFC Government “that advocated a $1,000 reduction in the toll.” This, he said, the coalition subsequently revised to $300.
“I will never stop supporting anything that can bring benefit to people,” said Jagdeo.
He said that he is in fact supportive of all the promises made by the coalition to bring benefit to the people, including a promised 20 per cent increase in pay for public servants.
The former president said that Guyana does not have a “co-government”. “If the government wants to buy out the bridge, that is its solution; if it doesn’t want to, fine….if it wants to buy out the bridge and drop the toll as it promised, fine.”
He suggested, too, that should Government want to explore some other measures “to implement its promise, fine.”
Jagdeo was adamant that if the APNU+AFC Government does not deliver on its promise, “its fine with us too, but they need to be man enough to say that they were wrong again on this, that their campaign was wrong. They said the bridge was a cash cow for friends and family of the PPP.”
Jagdeo said the nation is now being told that the Berbice Bridge Company is now claiming that “people didn’t get any dividends on their investment.”
He said the impression created, using the description of a ‘cash cow,’ is that people are drawing down large returns on their investments.
“We shouldn’t be offering solutions to the government they should fix the problem now…They made the promise, they should fix it.”
The former president told members of the local media corps that during a recent party outreach to sections of Berbice, he met with that branch of the Chambers of Commerce and the issues surrounding the bridge was raised.
“The issue of the bridge came up and many of them were urging that we get involved,” said Jagdeo.
He reported to media operatives, “I said to them, we don’t have co-government now, we have a government, we have an opposition.”
Jagdeo reiterated that it was the current government during its campaign that promised a reduction in the tolls being charged to cross the Berbice River utilizing the bridge.
He drew reference to the fact that government had set aside $36M to subsidize the bridge company in face of lowered tolls but more than $60M was allocated to the Prime Minister “to fix up his house, buy furniture and a vehicle.”
As such, Jagdeo argues that if in fact the priority of the APNU+AFC administration was the lowering of the tolls across the Berbice River, then it could have allocated a larger amount to be used as a subsidy.
Guyana, he said, “is not a bankrupt country, they had lots of room…They had more room to do much more in relation to the bridge.”
In fact, in his newfound calls in support of a buyout of the equity in the Berbice Bridge, Jagdeo argues that Government has at its disposal some $30B to utilize from the numerous semi-autonomous agencies, “the so called private accounts that the government can transfer anytime.”
He was making reference to monies held in private accounts by agencies such as the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Lotto Funds, among others.
“Remember they said that this money was held outside the budget and the only reason it was held there was for us to steal it…So there is still about $30B being held out there that they can use, I think, if they want they can negotiate a settlement and take back the bridge.”
Should the APNU+AFC Government be able to realize this option, Jagdeo said, it can then significantly lower the tolls and this would not require the entire $30B amount available.
“They can spend about 15-20 per cent (of the $30B) and get back the bridge…We will support anything that brings down the toll for the Berbice Bridge,” said Jagdeo.
Aug 05, 2020From ‘Ghetto’ to Glory… By Sean Devers Caribbean Bantamweight Boxing Champion and 2021 Olympic hopeful 21-year-old Keevin Allicock grew up in the heart of the ‘Ghetto’ in Albouystown...
Aug 04, 2020
Aug 04, 2020
Aug 04, 2020
Aug 02, 2020
Aug 02, 2020
By Sir Ronald Sanders Amid the feverish work to cope with both the public health and economic effects of COVID-19 on their... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]