Berbice bridge contract for signing next week
- Xavier

Stabroek News
September 21, 2000

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and officials of the Dutch company, Ballast Nedam International are expected to sign the contract for the construction of the Berbice River bridge some time next week.

This, according Minister of Transport and Hydraulics, Anthony Xavier, will facilitate the commencement of the next stage--the completion of the development agreement--which will work out the modalities of the contract and the specific siting of the structure.

The minister, who yesterday visited a number of infrastructural projects being undertaken by the government in Region Six, (East Berbice/Corentyne), took the opportunity to bring the media up to date on the project.

According to the minister, the negotiating team and the contractor have agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding clearing the way for the forward movement. He said that once the development agreement was concluded without hitches, he could safely say that it should be signed by the second week of November, paving the way for the commencement of the project a short while later. A government source had told Stabroek News last week that it was not possible for the negotiating team to conclude the contractual arrangements before the end of this year.

Xavier stated that the ministry was hoping to stick as rigidly as possible to a time schedule. Questioned on the likely site of the actual work, he stated that three sites were under consideration, one being Brothers Village on the East Bank Berbice. However, tidal effects and the soil type had to be looked at before reaching a final decision on the ideal spot for the erection of the bridge.

The minister, questioned on a suggestion by President Bharrat Jagdeo that the bridge works were not going to begin before next year, said that the idea was to surprise the head of state.

He said that reporters who rang government sources and got information on policies should check with the subject minister to clarify the information they received.

While in New Amsterdam, Xavier viewed critical road works in the Stanleytown stelling area which were delayed due to problems the contractor was having sourcing materials.

He also called on Mayor Errol Alphonso who used the opportunity to solicit assistance from the minister for the planned town day on October 28.

Alphonso, while outlining plans by the municipality to ensure that the occasion is a resounding success, stated that urgent works needed to be advanced to prepare the town for the occasion. He cited the clearing of clogged drains and urgent road works on the Republic road. Xavier advised the mayor to put his concerns in writing and he would have them looked into.

The minister was accompanied by Permanent Secretary, Kenneth Jordan; Regional Chairman, Rohit Persaud; Chief Roads Officer, Donald Walcott and Technical Adviser, Walter Willis.

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