Attorney-at-law and political commentator, Nigel Hughes believes that the current state of affairs at the Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI), is a manifestation of poor planning on the part of the project’s conceptualisers – the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government.
Hughes said this when speaking to media operatives at the opening of the National Toshaos Conference earlier this week at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre in Greater Georgetown.
The lawyer noted that the Berbice Bridge was badly conceptualised and doomed to failure. He says the bridge also stands at an inappropriate location because of insufficient planning.
“The Berbice Bridge was a financial disaster, the numbers never added up, they still do not add up. They want to carry the fares up. It becomes a political issue; but the reality for us in Guyana is, had we initially run the numbers, the bridge wouldn’t be located where it is today. It would be located down the river where it was narrower and more feasible… If we had really run the numbers we would have ended up with a permanent fixed span bridge rather than a floating bridge,” Hughes said.
Like many others, Hughes has lend his voice to the chorus that the increase in tolls being sought by the Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI), must not become a reality as it will be an unnecessary burden on the backs of Guyanese.
The BBCI earlier this month, sought approval to increase the fares.
However, the government said no.
The company argued that despite generating some $3M per day, it is not making any profits to satisfy overhead costs or give its shareholders dividends.
The call was made by the BCCI’s Chairman, Dr. Surendra Persaud, who noted that since the bridge was commissioned some 10 years ago, the pontoons supporting the mega-structure have never been maintained.
Dr. Persaud – who is also the Chairman of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), the largest shareholder in the BBCI – told media operatives that the Government of Guyana failed to live up to its part of the deal with private investors when a structured toll increase was applied some time back.
The BBCI is currently exploring the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the government.