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Govt says ‘no’ to call for increased Berbice Bridge tolls

Chairman of the Berbice Bridge Company Inc; Dr. Surendra Persaud.

Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson Tuesday afternoon vowed that government would not back down from its election campaign promise not to increase tolls to cross the Berbice River Bridge.

“Government stands by its decision to reduce tolls in fulfilling a campaign commitment and will continue to work with the Berbice Bridge Company in ensuring that the Bridge is sufficiently maintained and safe for vehicular and marine use,” he said in a statement.

The Minister was at the time responding to comments from Chairman of the Berbice Bridge Incorporated (BBCI) Dr. Surendra Persaud who called for significant increases to the tolls.

The new tolls proposed by the BBCI will see cars and minibuses paying GY$8,040 to cross the bridge; pickups, small trucks and four-wheeled drive vehicles GY$14, 600; medium trucks GY$27,720; large trucks GY$49,600; articulated trucks GY$116,800; freight GY$1,680 and boats GY$401,040.

Minister Patterson reiterated that the Government stands by its decision to reduce tolls in fulfilling a campaign commitment.

See below the full statement issued by Minister David Patterson.

“The Ministry of Public Infrastructure notes comments by the Berbice Bridge Company officials at a press conference today, Tuesday, July 10, and wishes to assure all Berbicians and users of the Berbice Bridge that government is not contemplating any increases to the Berbice Bridge toll.

Government stands by its decision to reduce tolls in fulfilling a campaign commitment and will continue to work with the Berbice Bridge Company in ensuring that the Bridge is sufficiently maintained and safe for vehicular and marine use.

Further government notes that the Bridge Agreement places obligations on all parties, which include scheduled maintenance and associated upgrades. Any request for toll increases must take into consideration a wide array of factors and cannot solely be on the basis of recouping operational costs and profits on dividend.

The Berbice Bridge provides a critical service to the public and tolls must remain reasonable and cannot be arbitrarily hiked to oppressive and onerous levels. Government will continue to take practical decisions in the interest of the people of Guyana and the provision of quality services.”