Govt stifling economic drivers in Regions 5, 6 – Nandlall

first_img…says BBCI toll increase a clear “political gimmick”Former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall believes the actions of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Administration has negatively impacted the two major economic activities in Berbice, which in turn has significantly reduced spending power and may even be the reasons behind the Berbice River Bridge not earning revenues. Following previously failed talks with Government, the Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI) last week went ahead and announced new toll increases. These include $8040 for cars and minibuses; $14,600 for pickups, small trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles; $27,720 for medium trucks; $49,600 for large trucks; $116,680 for Art trucks; $1680 for freight, and $401,040 for boats passing through the bridge.The new tolls are to take effect from November 12 and according to Chairman of the Bridge Company, Dr Surendra Persaud, who is a close associate of AFC, it has nothing to do with the impending Local Government Elections (LGE) which will be held on the same day. He explained that the Bridge Company has incurred losses in excess of GY$2.8 billion, and has never paid dividends to its ordinary shareholders.However, Nandlall has posited that the blame of the Bridge Company experiencing huge losses squarely lies at the feet of Government for destroying the economy of Regions Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).“The driving economic forces of Regions Five and Six are the sugar and rice sectors. The Government is closing down the sugar sector and is killing the rice sector by imposing VAT (Value-Added Tax) on agricultural equipment and increasing the rates and rents for rice lands by several hundred per cent,” he stated.According to the former Attorney General, the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary-Agriculture Development Authority (MMA-ADA) is unable to maintain the infrastructural dams in the rice cultivation areas while the Drainage and Irrigation Authority, along with MMA, have completed neglected the drainage system in the rice industry.“All of this culminates in economic stagnation in these two regions so there is no money circulating and this obviously will have a negative impact on the revenue generated by the bridge. In short, people simply are travelling less so we go right back to the Government being responsible,” Nandlall contended.He went on to call the proposed toll increases a “political gimmick” and an “electoral stunt” being engineered by the coalition Administration, noting that a number of factors can support this reality. Political gimmickNandlall stressed that there was no way Government, through its Infrastructure Ministry, did not know about the increases when the subject Minister, David Patterson, and the BBCI Chairman are executive members of the AFC party.“When the announcement was made by Dr Persaud, Minister Patterson came out with a statement that he is unaware [of the toll increases]. One has to be extraordinarily gullible to believe that Dr Persaud would not have communicated his decision to his party colleague before making it public. So when Minister Patterson came out claiming ignorance, it was laughable,” Nandlall stated.He further posited that it is also a strain on the intellect of the average Guyanese to accept that the bridge company sought and obtained legal advice from a reputable senior counsel to raise the tolls when only the minister can levy an increase in the toll.Furthermore, the Opposition parliamentarian outlined that it cannot be coincidence that the proposed increases are scheduled to take effect on the same day Local Government polls will be held.“Is it that no other date could have been chosen? And simultaneously, it cannot be a coincidence that there is a plethora of comments both from the Government and the paid PR personnel, both in the press and social media, blaming the People’s Progressive Party for the increase,” he continued.This entire fiasco, Nandlall noted, was staged to drive fear into the people of Berbice with this mammoth increase.“Then we will see the Government stepping in like a knight in shining amour and quash the increases, and take credit for it so as to garner votes especially from these two regions because they sense that they would be soundly thrashed at the Local Government Elections,” he stated.The proposed toll increases have been the subject of much criticisms with Government saying that it would not accept.However, outspoken political activist and former Presidential Advisor Ramon Gaskin is suggesting a total buyout of the bridge company by Government so as to resolve the issue.The BBCI, in which the National Insurance Scheme has majority voting rights on the Board of Directors, was forced to push for the increase in tolls in order to protect its investment. To this end, Gaskin suggested that an alternative can be for Government and the NIS to solely own the bridge, thus buying the shares from all the other shareholders.On the other hand, one of the shareholders told this newspaper that it recognises that BBCI is in serious financial jeopardy, given that debts have reached maturity and few options are available to stave off bankruptcy.Another noted that if an agreement cannot be reached, them it is recommended that the Government buy back the bridge and compensate investors in keeping with the financial model and other investment documents. (Vahnu Manikchand)last_img read more

‘EWE’ WON’T BELIEVE THIS – DONEGAL MAN BECOMES WORLD LAMB SHEARING CHAMPION

first_imgA County Donegal man has set a new lamb shearing world record.Ivan Scott from Kilmacrennan shore 744 lambs in eight hours in New Zealand on Monday, beating the previous world record by just two sheep.Brought up on a farm he had a little shearing experience, but that all changed when he travelled to the other side of the world. “I used to do a bit of shearing in the summer, then I came out to New Zealand when I was 20 for three months and it turned into 10 years,” he said.Now based near Taupo on New Zealand’s north island, Ivan broke the record in front of 100 supporters.To beat the previous record, he had to shear on average 185.5 lambs every two hours.In the first two-hours Ivan shore 187 lambs, then tallied 189, 187 and 182 over the following sessions. And the tally could have been even higher as five lambs were rejected by the adjudicator for cuts over the course of the day.But how fit does someone have to be achieve this feat?“Physically I’ve been training for quite a few months leading up to it to get my fitness right,” Ivan told the BBC.“It was more the mental pressure which is just as hard.“You have to be dedicated and treat it like a sport. It’s a bit like climbing a mountain, you’ve just got to put in an effort.” While Ivan is already back at work, next up on the shearing front is the Golden Shears World Championship which will be held in New Zealand later this year.‘EWE’ WON’T BELIEVE THIS – DONEGAL MAN BECOMES WORLD LAMB SHEARING CHAMPION was last modified: January 10th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Ivan Scottkilmacrennanlambsworld championlast_img read more