Gov’t looking into improving the public transportation system – Min Edghill

As the government advances its major transformational agenda, it will be looking into improving the public transportation system.

This was disclosed by Public Works Minister Bishop Juan Edghill while speaking on The Guyana Dialogue on Thursday evening.

Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill

He said there will always be a need for public transportation, and the importance of this service is being highlighted amidst the numerous infrastructural developments.

Additionally, since government has made vehicle ownership more accessible and affordable, there has been an influx in the number of vehicles being registered.

The minister assured that the government is working assiduously to address the issue of traffic congestion, noting that the new four-lane high-span Demerara River Bridge, for which preparatory works are ongoing, will significantly aid this effort.

“We are building out better infrastructure for easier accessibility, we are reducing traffic time through our highway road network development…We have to answer present demands as we build for the future,” Minister Edghill said.

He pointed out that part of this master plan for modernisation includes alternative modes of transportation, adding that an aggressive approach will be taken to have a well-coordinated public transportation system.

The minister said following the passage of the 2023 budget, this next phase of implementation will see rapid and integrated efforts being made to foster advancement in all sectors, and to materialise all the plans outlined in the budget.

Since the government assumed office in 2020, the public works ministry has constructed more than 1,053 roads countrywide, Minister Edghill stated, as he reminded that the supplementary amount provided in November 2022 will see over 1,000 more roads being constructed.

Referencing the fast-paced, aggressive nature of government, the minister recalled that last year, some 267 contracts were assigned in Berbice, in just one day.

He said many of the local contractors were employed under these projects, a hallmark of the administration’s dedication to ensuring employment opportunities for all Guyanese.

Also, government has facilitated training programmes for local contractors assisting them to bid for projects.

For instance, in September 2022, 25 contractors from Buxton underwent taxation training following the signing of $56 million in contracts to rehabilitate the bridges in their community. Participants were guided in the key processes in applying for business compliances, such as applying for a TIN certificate and registering for E-services, in keeping with the efforts to provide these persons with the necessary training to navigate the bidding process.

The minister said, “Apart from improving infrastructure, we were also increasing employment. We were also bringing economic empowerment with infrastructural development.”

In addressing the opposition’s contention that there exists a discriminatory nature in the way developmental projects are disseminated, the public works minister maintained that the government is committed to facilitating improvements in every community, across the country.

He highlighted that last year, 26 roads were done in Linden, a town known for being an APNU+AFC stronghold. This amount alone is more than the APNU+AFC government did in the mining town during its five years in office.

Minister Edghill added that the government has done some $1.3 billion worth of roads in Linden, with another 30 on the cards for this year. In December 2022 alone, Region 10 benefitted from $84 million worth of work.

“When you look at the dollar value, as well as the population, and you compare it with the geographical layout, then you will be able to appreciate that there is no discrimination. Development is taking place across the country,” the minister emphasised.

He said the largest infrastructural project being undertaken- the US $190 million Linden to Mabura Hill road, is being invested in Region Ten.  

Meanwhile, the public works minister stated that the $5 billion allocated for hinterland roads will see the rehabilitation and upgrading of roads in Regions One, Seven, Eight, Nine and some parts of Region Ten.