No new infrastructural projects have been undertaken by this government

Dear Editor,

There is a level of misinformation being peddled by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure as it relates to the “successes” of this ministry.

The undisputed fact is that since the APNU+AFC Granger-led administration assumed office no new transformational or major infrastructural project has been undertaken. All that has been reported are projects started by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration pre-May 2015, and in some instances funding mobilised awaiting contract awards for execution.

Let me, specifically, refer to a number of projects, such as the Cheddi Jagan International Airport; the East Bank four lane highway; the West Coast Demerara road (Vreed-en-Hoop to Ruby); the East Coast four lane highway and upgrade (Better Hope to Belfield); the East Bank Berbice road; the Sheriff-Mandela upgrade; the road link between the East Coast and East Bank; the Guyana Power and Light power utility upgrade project; GPL’s PUUP (funded by the EU/IDB); the new ferry to be funded by India; the Linden to Lethem road; and the Kurupukari crossing. These are all projects that were in the pipeline at different stages. Therefore, I urge all Guyanese not to be fooled by the propaganda lines and sound bites being peddled by the current administration.

The only new developments in this sector are the corruption and non-compliance with procurement processes, sole sourcing of contracts to friends and cronies and the heavy over reliance on the force account unit.

The New Demerara River Crossing: this project was at the pre-feasibility stage when the PPP/C demitted office in May 2015. The country is now aware that the feasibility study was sole sourced to a preferred contractor even after more than a dozen firms submitted bid proposals, responding to a public advertisement. How this is possible, only the Ministry of Public Infrastructure knows. The Wind Farm proposal was around pre-May 2015, and discussions were ongoing about the cost that would be entailed in a power purchase agreement, feeding into the national grid and developing real capacity. However, it would appear that a political investor, a publicly declared AFC financier, is the preferred investor. We are not aware of the cost to purchase electricity and there are a number of other unknowns as it relates to this project.

The maintenance of roads and bridges, hinterland roads and bridges, highways, street lights, ferry vessels, interior airstrips, wharfs and stellings and river and sea defences are all routine tasks for this ministry and in some instances these declared programmes were not executed as confirmed by the Minister when he declared a 73% completion of the capital projects for 2017. Yet, the ministry is claiming a highly successful year.

Editor, government collects taxes and is expected to provide goods and services to its citizens. It is obvious that the APNU+AFC government specializes in the collecting of taxes and is still learning how to deliver goods and services to the taxpayers. This unscrupulous approach of selling propaganda through a public relations blitz is a failed method that is seen and experienced by all Guyanese.

It is in this environment of boasting  by the Minister of Public Infrastructure that Guyanese are yet to be assured of the short-term, medium-term or even a workable long-term solution to ensuring cheap reliable and renewable electricity. We all suffered the indignities of constant blackouts during the entire year and even during the festive season, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Guyanese deserve more so we demand more of this administration.

Yours faithfully,

Bishop Juan Edghill, MP

PPP/C

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