Following almost two months of public disagreement and quarrel, the government announced on Thursday that it is finally “at the table for talks” with the Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI).
The talks are expected to discuss a way forward with regards to the lowering of tolls at the bridge.
In wake of this development, the administration is hopeful that within another few weeks, consensus could be reached on the matter.
Asked for an update on the government’s negotiation with the Bridge Company, Governance Minister Raphael Trotman said “we are now at the table of talking, where we should have been many months ago.”
The Minister believes the two sides will be able to reach a mutually beneficial position in the near future.
“We are very optimistic that we will come to a mutually agreeable position but I can’t say we are at the stage where we are about to concretize an agreement, the expectation is that within a few weeks we should have it all worked out,” Trotman added.
The BCCI had refused to accept the proposal of a government subvention in return for lowering the fares. The commitment to ensure reduced fares by the APNU+AFC administration was an election promise made to the residents of Region #5 and #6.
The Bridge Company two weeks ago announced that it had submitted a proposal to the Government and that it may be willing, now that discussions were held with its shareholders and trustees, to accept the multimillion dollar annual subvention for the proposed reduction in tolls.
The government had made budgetary arrangement in the 2015 national budget for such an arrangement. The stalemate later forced the government to introduce a water taxi service across the Berbice River.