Important and major infrastructural works such as roads, bridges, harbours as well as water supply and electricity generation should not, in my view, be put in the hands of private individuals or companies. These are public goods which impact directly on the quality of life of individuals in general and the ordinary people in particular.
It is against such a background that I wish to suggest that the Berbice River Bridge should be taken over in full by the Government to avoid a situation where commuters are asked to pay unconscionable fares as is currently the case. The Government should try to compensate private investors and put in place a model similar to that of the Demerara River Bridge where fares are much more attuned to the financial and economic realities of the average Guyanese.
The financial burden of such huge infrastructural projects should be borne by the State and spread over a long period.
My own view is that the recommended increases in tolls for the Berbice River crossing are outrageous and completely out of proportion with the economic realities of the average Guyanese. The current rates are already too high and burdensome and any further increases could result in a significant drop in vehicular traffic over the Bridge which could have an adverse effect on the economy in general and Berbice in particular.