Opposition parliamentarian, Ganesh Mahipaul has expressed concern over the cost attached to the construction of the four-lane Schoonard/Crane Highway. Contracts amounting to $11.8B were inked yesterday by eight firms, and works are expected to commence shortly.

See Mahipaul’s full statement below:

As the elected Geographic Member of Parliament for Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region Three) I take this opportunity on behalf of the APNU+AFC and the people of my region in welcoming the new infrastructural road project that will soon commence from Schoonord on the West Bank of Demerara to Crane on the West Coast of Demerara. The APNU+AFC had as part of its plan to construct four-lane highways from Crane to Free and Easy, linking Schoonord and the Del Conte to Makouria so it is welcoming to see this regime focusing on at least a part of that big vision.

As stated in the media, this project is a four-lane highway, 3.9 km in distance and is awarded to the tune of $11.8B to eight contractors.

Notwithstanding the above, what worries me about this project is the cost. A similar project for the construction of the Eccles to Mandela four-lane highway, 2.8 km in distance was constructed to the tune of $2.3B. Based on this already constructed Eccles to Mandela four-lane highway, one km of road of this nature on the coastland should cost us, taxpayers, somewhere around $800M.

But for this Schoonord to Crane four-lane highway, one km is costing the taxpayers $3B and the feature of this road is not much different from the Eccles to Mandela four-lane highway. This is a significant difference in terms of cost. In the interest of transparency, accountability and good governance, I, therefore, demand that the feasibility study done for this project be released to the public now. Development is a must, and we must welcome it with both hands, but wastage of taxpayers’ money and corruption must never be tolerated.


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