It has been reported that the Amaila Falls Access Road (AFAR) has once again missed its completion date of April 30. Did Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn mislead the National Assembly by stating that AFAR would have been completed by that date? He also has no idea what AFAR will cost as he continues to make excuses for overruns and evade questions regarding eventual costs and muzzle those under his control when the question is posed.
The Amaila Falls Hydropower project (AFHP) is a tragedy for Guyanese as it is going nowhere since funding is not available for its construction now or in the foreseeable future. So why is the PPP Government expending scarce resources to complete a costly road intended primarily for the proposed AFHP but which will have little or no impact on the economy to create jobs per se? Further a road built in the middle of the rain forest will be expensive to maintain while awaiting its intended use. So is this another white elephant in the PPP’s prized showroom? Afterall, Minister Benn can’t even maintain the coastal and hinterland roads to any acceptable standard so why put more on his plate?
Minister Benn should put AFAR on hold while the proposed AFHP mess is being sorted out and use the money now being spent on AFAR to improve the Linden – Rupununi, Bartica – Potaro – Mahdia and other hinterland roads to facilitate increased mineral and lumber production thereby boosting the economy and creating jobs so badly needed in Guyana.
It is time President Ramotar carry out a reality check on the performance of Minister Benn. Projects to be considered for performance review under his portfolio should include the East Coast and East Bank Roads upgrade, AFAR, the Good Hope Ferry Stelling and the fabric groynes under construction for the Georgetown sea defence. The evidence suggests he lacks competence to make critical and strategic decisions on complex projects particularly regarding their costs and completion times.