Berbice Chamber of Commerce concerned about on-going issues

From Calvin Marshall
Guyana Chronicle
March 8, 2000

THE Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association (BCCDA) has expressed its concern over the number of unresolved issues ranging from inadequate telecommunication, the deplorable state of the roads, and the neglect of New Amsterdam, the main Berbice town.

BCCDA President, Mr Mohamed Raffik said the many populated communities including places on the East Bank of Berbice, sections of Canje and areas on the Corentyne, without telephones make it now compelling for the Government to decide on a course of action to remedy the situation.

He said because the business body is bombarded regularly by disenchanted applicants for phones, the Chamber has invited the chairman of the Public Utilities Commission for a meeting to discuss this and other related matters with the general public.

A request, too, has been made to the Minister of Public Works, Mr Anthony Xavier, to meet the business grouping on the proposed Berbice River bridge and the bad state of roads in the township under his Department, Raffik said.

"It is our hope that Minister Xavier would say something definitive about this much needed facility," the BCCDA head said, while imploring multilateral lending agencies to treat the Government's application for the necessary funds as a priority.

Among the driveways needing urgent attention are Princess Elizabeth, Republic, Vryheid and Esplanade Roads, some of which are near impassable, Raffik disclosed.

According to Raffik, the huge profit margin of the Transport and Harbours Department from the Berbice River crossings is an indication the bridge could net an annual revenue of nearly US$3.5M.

On New Amsterdam, Raffik said, the attitude of the present leadership leaves much to be desired, considering their non-response to a request a month ago from a businessman for permission to clean clogged drains in Pitt Street.

"It appears that this town is not being administered properly considering the many social problems in this society. This chamber interacts freely with our three municipalities and New Amsterdam is the worst in providing basic services," Raffik lamented.

While the Chamber head is pleased with new plans for the industrial site, Raffik said the business community is concerned about the callous attitude of the Town Council to the many roadside hardware vendors mushrooming.