If the coalition administration is not careful, then its US$950M Demerara River Crossing Project can break Guyana’s comparatively small, relatively undiversified and precariously dependent economy.
This opinion was recently expressed by Opposition Parliamentarian and former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, in his weekly missive, “The Unruly Horse”.
Titled “The Bridge That May Sink Us”, the former Legal Affairs Minister said that the nation cannot risk at this time, creating a financial apparition that may one day come back to haunt the citizenry.
Drawing on experiences of other countries to solidify his notion, the politician penned about the “chaos” he claims exists in Caribbean countries – including Suriname – following the undertaking of massive projects.
“For example, the construction of two massive bridges has thrown one of the most vibrant and resilient economies in the Region (Suriname), into a tailspin, from which a decade after, it is yet to recover. Similarly, in St Vincent, perhaps the most modern and one of the largest international airports in the Caribbean, just constructed, is perceived to have caused two commercial banks to close their doors and has cascaded the tiny economy of that island into chaos,” he said.
Nandlall warns that if the Guyana government does not employ the right governing strategies, the nation will end up in a mess.
“We are likely to end up with a monstrosity which can cost this nation billions of dollars. The resulting toll charges will be far beyond the affordability of the average Guyanese and consequently, hundreds of millions will have to be hemorrhaged from the treasury to subsidize it, annually.”
Nandlall predicts that the tolls are “merely ancillary to the huge debt burden which the financing of this project would leave upon the backs of the ordinary Guyanese.”
“When this debt is added to the over US$950 million expected to be borrowed from the Islamic Development Bank, coupled with the US$30 million borrowed for GUYSUCO (Guyana Sugar Corporation), which the Government has guaranteed, I am in no doubt that we are once again on the road to becoming the most indebted people, per capita, in the western hemisphere,” the politician said.