Govt can save Berbice Bridge from bankruptcy – PPP

first_imgThe Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has called on the Government to stop blaming it for the troubles the Berbice Bridge Company Inc (BBCI) finds itself in, indicating that the current Administration is in a position to save the company from bankruptcy.The BBCI recently proposed a 150 per cent increase in its tolls in order to meet its expenses. The Company said the increases were necessary, so it could make enough money to operate, conduct maintenance works, and pay dividends to shareholders.The new tolls proposed by the BBCI will see cars and minibuses paying $8040 to cross the bridge; pickups, small trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles $14,600; medium trucks $27,720; large trucks $49,600; articulated trucks $116,800 and boats $401,040.In a statement on Friday, the PPP called on the Government to take responsibility for its actions accusing it of decimating the local economy in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).“Thousands of workers were put on the breadline and, therefore, any toll increase will be an unconscionable burden on the backs of the users of the Bridge. The Government can address this issue and maintain the viability of the Bridge by doing either one of two things: provide a subsidy for the financing shortfall in the Bridge cash flows, and/or buy out the investors in the Bridge,” the PPP said.Additionally, the PPP reminded that in 2014 the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) used its one-seat parliamentary majority to pass a motion to reduce the tolls on the bridge. One year later when the APNU/AFC came into Government, it further reduced the bridge tolls “without making provision to fund capital repayment scheduled to commence in 2014 – a fundamental breach of the Concession Contract.”In accordance with the Berbice Bridge Act passed in Parliament in 2006, the Government entered into a Concession Agreement with the privately-owned BBCI with one important section being the Toll Formula to calculate tolls. No changes in tolls were projected until 2014, the year the Bridge Company was scheduled to start repaying the principal on its debt; up to the end of 2013, only interest was being paid on its debt financing.The PPP said it was willing to make public its 2006 financial model, which had toll increases in two years – 6.4 per cent in 2014 and 17.3 per cent in 2017 (compared to the 150 per cent that is now proposed), with these increases coming almost eight years after construction of the Bridge started.“There is no shortage of project documentation for the Berbice Bridge BOOT (Build Own Operate Transfer) model. Under this model, a 21-year concession was issued to the BBCI, whose ownership and financing involved most of the local private banks, insurance companies, pension funds, the NIS, and corporate investors of Guyana,” the PPP said.More than $8 billion was raised in the form of bonds, subordinate debt, preferred shares, and common shares (common dividends have never been paid). Government, with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), built the access roads. The project did not receive any Government guarantee.Just Thursday, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson said he would be bringing Cabinet’s attention to the toll increases proposed by the BBCI. The Minister made the statement on the heels of the Public Infrastructure Ministry saying it rejected the proposed increases while alluding to the APNU/AFC’s campaign promise of reducing the tolls.The ownership structure of the BBCI is made up of ordinary share capital of $500 million owned by private investors and preference shares of $950 million owned by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). The Bridge has a wide cross-section of investors including various pension schemes, insurance schemes, local banks as well as private companies and NIS.last_img read more

BAD PENNY WELL SPENT: THE DEFINITIVE RORY GALLAGHER BIOGRAPHY HITS SHELVES

first_imgHE’S one of Donegal’s most famous sons.Rory Gallagher was also Ireland’s first ever rock star; a shy and gentle young musician who became a guitar hero and icon to legions of fans, selling 30 million records worldwide.Now, 17 years after his untimely death, the first comprehensive and authoritative Rory Gallagher biography finally hits the shelves. Rory Gallagher: His Life and Times is written by Marcus Connaughton, a veteran of the Irish record industry and a blues expert.Featuring exclusive interviews with many of Rory’s contemporaries, including the multi-award-winning filmmaker Tony Palmer, Rory’s Taste band mate John Wilson and U2’s world-renowned sound engineer Joe O’Herlihy, it provides the most personal insight yet into the life and music of one of the greatest guitarists the world has seen.Single-minded, extremely private, and never satisfied with his work, Ballyshannon-born Rory was something of a loner and a very difficult nut to crack. From buying his famous Stratocaster guitar as a Cork schoolboy, to life on the road, to band break-ups, to recording with Jerry Lee Lewis and Muddy Waters, this compelling biography attempts to offer an honest and thorough look into the world of Ireland’s most enigmatic musician.The Strat was the key to Rory’s sound. He could talk about it all night. ‘It’s dated November 1961 – in certain people’s opinions this is when Fender hit their peak,’ he once commented. ‘I like the maple neck. Like on the earlier guitars, they’re probably a bit more crisp, but there’s a warmth to this, a mellowness because of the rosewood neck. This is the best, it’s my life, this is my best friend. It’s almost like knowing its weak spots are strong spots. I don’t like to get sentimental about these things, but when you spend thirty years of your life with the same instrument it’s like a walking memory bank of your life there in your arms.’ Filled with never-before-seen photographs and exclusive insights, Rory Gallagher: His Life and Times is a compelling testament to the musical life of a legendary rock star told by contemporaries, road crew, family and friends.So whether songs like ‘Bad Penny’, ‘Tattoo’d Lady’ and ‘A Million Miles Away’ have been providing the soundtrack to your life, or whether you just want to expand your musical knowledge, this book is the ultimate guide to one of the country’s greats and a comprehensive account of some of the most progressive years in Irish music history. A real collector’s item, Rory Gallagher: His Life and Times is required reading for music lovers everywhere.Rory Gallagher: His Life and Times by Marcus Connaughton is published by The Collins Press, price €19.99. It is available in bookshops and online from www.collinspress.ie. BAD PENNY WELL SPENT: THE DEFINITIVE RORY GALLAGHER BIOGRAPHY HITS SHELVES was last modified: October 8th, 2012 by BrendaShare 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:BAD PENNY WELL SPENT: THE DEFINITIVE RORY GALLAGHER BIOGRAPHY HITS SHELVESlast_img read more