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Jagdeo told “big fat lie” about new Demerara Bridge crossing; govt ready to subsidise tolls

Mr. Mol (second right) highlights location info to Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson (second left), Ministerial Advisor, Mr. Kenneth Jordan (right), and DHBC General Manager, Mr. Rawlston Adams.

Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson on Thursday refused to disclose the amount of money needed for key aspects of the new Demerara Harbour Bridge project but slammed as a “big fat lie” Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo’s claim that next to the existing Demerara Harbour Bridge was the best location for a new river crossing.

Patterson said proposals have been submitted to Finance Minister, David Patterson for the construction of associated roads and the compulsory acquisition of 20 metres of land belonging to Muneshwer’s shore-base at Houston as well as the optional relocation of two or three houses and a nursery school mainly because of vehicular noise nuisance.

“There are 11 kilometres of road and we have asked for enough monies to fund 11 kilometres of road. We have asked for enough money, in our opinion, if we go for any acquisition of property, any further detailed studies…we have asked for enough money  to start the work and hopefully we can get as much as possible. I don’t want to put a number. That puts a pressure on the Ministry of Finance and they may not look favourably on it and I do want them to look favourably on it,” he said.

Patterson said Pritipaul Singh Investments, Gafoors Hardware Store and Toolsie Persaud would not be affected by the new bridge.

The Minister said just as government has been subsidizing the cost of crossing the Berbice River through water-taxis and bridge tolls, the administration was ready to provide similar financial support to cushion likely increased tolls for crossing the new Demerara River Bridge.

“Honourable member Jagdeo, if the Demerara River Bridge crossing financial works out that we have to give an equal subsidy to the residents of Region Four, Region Three and all the users of that bridge, so be it. That is our responsibility and if that is not transparent you have an opportunity this year to vote against it,” Patterson said, adding that he would most likely call for vote in the House to clearly show the voting by the opposition parliamentarians.

The Feasibility Study and Design for the new Demerara River Crossing- public stakeholder consultations” by LienvenseCSO Consultants states, among other things, that “there seems to be room for both toll tariffs to be increased but affordable toll will never cover for debt service>>> government support is required.”

Patterson further informed that contrary to Jagdeo’s utterances on Wednesday, available documents such as studies and a Cabinet memo, show that the People’s Progressive Party Civic-led administration had also preferred the Houston-Versailles link. The Public Infrastructure Minister said a pre-feasibility study done in October 2013 by the Central Transportation Unit’s Engineer, R. Charles showed a “high-level four-lane fixed bridge at Houston-Versailles is the only economical feasible alternative providing benefits to society that can amount to minimum of some 223 million dollars over a seven-year cycle at a capital cost around 264.5 million dollars. The other alternatives prove to be uneconomical.” Patterson further related that in November 2013, the National Industrial Commercial Investments Limited had publicly advertised for bids for a Public-Private Partnership to design and construct a new Demerara Bridge crossing or other form of fixed crossing. In that advertisement, he said mention was made that three possible sites- New Hope, Peters Hall and Houston had been identified in the pre-feasibility study for the new bridge but no one had successfully taken up the offer. Another piece of evidence, he said was a November 7, 2014 Cabinet paper that requested GYD$103.5 million  for a feasibility study for a new bridge crossing that concluded that “high-level fixed lane bridge at Houston-Versailles is the only economically feasible alternative.”

Jagdeo has since expressed surprise at the coalition government’s preference for the same locations to link the east and west banks of the Demerara River and has suggested that that area has been suggested because former People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) executive member, Stanley Ming purportedly owns a tract of land at Versailles, West Bank Demerara.

On the issue of a non-disclosure agreement, he said that was confined to the protection of proprietary information by companies.

  • Emile_Mervin

    For the first time in a major project involving potentially billions of dollars, Jagdeo has zero control and it is eating him out. We need full disclosure, which is alien to Jagdeo’s track record on governance.

    • Ashwan Singh

      I agree with you Emile !

    • rs dasai

      The problem now is not Jaggie, and transparency only covers part of the deals. So we have to be watchful.

  • Parbudin Mackanlall

    What a bald faced liar. The chief is deeply wounded that he and his cohorts cannot get their grubby paws on dirty money by soliciting bribes and kickbacks from this project. As if that were not bad enough the end product will have high visibility and high impact which apart from benefiting the people could also benefit the coalition. Same thing with the developing oil industry.
    It isn’t fair!!!! We were supposed to be there for eternity!!!! LOL

  • shovid

    You still have that Kasie weakness!!

  • VictorAustin

    Just how I am angry at the APNU and the AFC for voting down the hydro project I be also angry with the PPP/C if they vote against this bridge or any public infrastructure that is intended to benefit the nation. I welcome professional scrutiny of all public infrastructure but let’s leave party politics out of them.

    • Ashwan Singh

      I absolutely agree with you Victor ! These people are just self serving, both those of the regime and the opposition. They will continue to play games with the people of Guyana until Guyanese wake up one day and do something serious about it, like voting both sides to the political scrap heap ! Let’s hope in 2020 we can do just that !

  • Xhrp2wkb1

    We are being told lies and half truths from both sides in most matters. Two sets of lies. Choose which set of lies you want to believe in.

  • raj ramsingh

    hate will definitely KILL some people, especially those like EM, FK and others. are we going to allow MPI to do as he like? why not an COI on the Durban Park Project? and many more where it is alleged the all was not fair in its process

  • brain dead idiot

    well well the big boss man saying that they lieing and this thing will reek of corruption but what everybody doing brushing him aside and starting with the same thing he was doing it and now they doing it and mr mervin is right jaggie don’t have his hand on this so when the tax payers have to be told the crossing will cost $10,000 a van $5000 A CAR $6000 A MINI BUS then we going to say berbice bridge prices is the same so what we are screaming about and when they not going to be able to finish it with government money and OTHERS GOING TO OWN 51% and set the prices what are we going to do revamp THD and river taxi service this needs the scrutiny of all the people what ever political party you support after all it is us who will have to pay for this.and as raj said durban park . are we geared for this election gimmick now after all they have a bad track record when it comes to investment projects like this size this is just something to get our minds off the bad oil deal we getting so this will take a while to settle just keep our eyes on what is important the resources of this country is being sold for little or nothing this bridge thing is just a distraction so they the government and the opposition can get away with raping this country .

  • Kassem_B

    Then we will still blame Jagdeo

  • Ram John

    Any bridge with a retractable span should not be pursued. Wait a lil bit for the oil money and build a high Level fixed lane bridge. Quoting from the Article – This is Minister Patterson
    .Another piece of evidence, he said was a November 7, 2014 Cabinet paper that requested GYD$103.5 million for a feasibility study for a new bridge crossing that concluded that “high-level fixed lane bridge at Houston-Versailles is the only economically feasible alternative.”

  • andyycapp

    By now we should understand that politicizing every issue with lies and cynicism is Jagdeo’s trademark way of seeking to remain relevant. He should be ignored. The justification of this proposed bridge site will withstand any scrutiny. On the other hand, the unjustified relocation of the initially proposed Berbice River bridge site from the East Bank Berbice River to the swampland at Palmyra stank of political and economic victimization. What nerve!