Desperation of AFC over rejection by Berbicians

first_imgDear Editor,Earlier this month, Berbicians and the rest of Guyana woke up to the announcement that tolls for the Berbice Bridge would be hiked by almost 400 per cent and the effective date of the increases would be Election Day, November 12, 2018. The announcement came from the AFC-aligned Chairman of the Berbice Bridge Corporation Incorporated Board of Directors, Surrendra Persaud.  Why did the AFC supporter announce such toll increases and decide that it would be effective on Election Day?   Clearly this was designed to cause worry and trepidation among Berbicians, since the Bridge has become so vital for their economic and social increase in tolls well-being.  How could the announced not be seen as an election gimmick?Fast forward to a few weeks later, Guyanese woke up to the announcement by Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, about the Government taking temporary control over the operations of the Berbice River Bridge in the interest of public safety.   This is the perpetuation of the election gimmick on the Guyanese people.Editor, what is interesting, is that the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) had said that this is election gimmickry and predicted that it was intended to offer Minister David Patterson/the AFC a chance to come in like a ‘knight in shining armour’ to ‘save’ Guyanese.  True to prediction, this is exactly what happened.What is also interesting, is that six days before the Local Government Elections, we have this announcement by Minister David Patterson – despite the admission that the matter is still to be dealt with at Cabinet level.I must note that Minister David Patterson had also said that he would seek legal advice, but the law is already clear- There can be no toll increases unless he, the Minister of Public Infrastructure, signs off on it.  Why then, did Minister David Patterson choose to drag the issue about seeking legal advice and what-not, when the law was already clear?  Even the Attorney General, Basil Williams, agreed that the law passed by the former People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) on the issue is clear and the company will be in breach of the concession agreement if it increases the toll.That said, I want to reiterate the position of the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic. The Party has said it is opposed to any toll increases because the financial model does not support any increase of this magnitude and such increases were not provided for in the agreement – as some in government quarters would have Guyanese believe.For three and a half years the issue of the Bridge could have been addressed – a promise made by the Coalition Government. In the pre-2015 election period, Most Berbicians remember another AFC Executive, Moses Nagamootoo, being in Berbice touting a reduction of the toll by half and the takeover of the Bridge by Government.  The almost $400M paid to Larry Singh, the tenant of another AFC Executive, Cathy Hughes, for a bottom house touted as a drug bond to the Guyanese people was enough to pay for all of the common shares in the Bridge, and the $1.5B spent on D’Urban Park was enough to buy out about half of the investment made by the National Insurance Scheme in the bonds used to finance the Bridge.We have seen the desperation of the AFC, clutching for any issue with which it could return to Berbice.   Because of the string of broken promises made to Berbicians and the mass rejection of the AFC in Berbice, the Party has had to bring up this matter and even go to the extent of compiling fraudulent Nominators’ Lists (Backers’ Lists) in several areas in Berbice, including the hometown of AFC’s Nagamootoo.The people of Berbice will not be victims of the AFC’s election gimmickry.Regards,Zulfikar MustphaMember of Parliamentlast_img read more