The Government of Guyana has temporarily taken over the operations of the Berbice River Bridge in the interest of public safety.
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, made this announcement in a statement issued today. In accordance with the powers conferred upon him by Section 4 (1 and 11) of the Berbice River Bridge Act, Minister Patterson issued the order declaring that the functions of the concessionaire, the Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI) to maintain and operate the bridge, will be exercised by the Government effective immediately.
Government will manage the bridge’s operation until a date to be specified by the Infrastructure Minister.. Government says it will be done until it believes there is no longer a threat to public safety.
The government and the BBCI have been engaged in a public dispute regarding a unilateral announcement on October 16, 2018 by the company to impose draconian toll increases, as much as 360 per cent, at the Berbice River Bridge.
This proposed increase by BBCI is slated to take effect on November 12, 2018.
The government says, “on the basis of correspondence between both sides as recently as over the past few days, we do not envision a swift resolution to this crisis.”
The Coalition Government reassures that it will do everything in its powers to alleviate disruption to the public and ensure that the assumption of these functions is as smooth as possible.
Further, government is assuring Berbicians and the general public that there will be no change to the present toll structure and all exemptions presently in place will remain in effect.
“Equally, there will be no change to the staffing complement, contractors and suppliers as we transition into this new and hopefully temporary arrangement,” the statement notes.
Read full statement by Minister Patterson:
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