First Look

Release information regarding toll hike says G2K



G2K | 2013-07-09 00:00:00

Generation 2000 (G2K), the young professional affiliate arm of the Jamaica Labour Party, is urging the Government and the Toll Regulators to release all the information regarding the operations of Highway 2000 and whether the Government stands to benefit from the recent round of toll increases.

“It appears that the Government expects the country to just take its word that there is no other way except an increase, but that is not how a modern democracy functions. It is important that citizens are able to access the financials, projections, usage figures and all the information regarding the operations of the toll road, since it is the people who are being called upon to pay. Assurances that the toll operators were approved less than could have been asked for are not enough” said Floyd Green

G2K noted that under the upside formula under the concession agreement, if the annual traffic revenues are over and above those forecasted, then the Government stands to benefit and asks that the Government indicate to the people of Jamaica whether the increase is being viewed as a revenue raising strategy.

Re-examine the contract

Noting the Government’s response to calls for the delay of the increase, which indicate that by virtue of the contract with the toll operators any delay would cost the country 500 million dollars, the organization is urging that a comprehensive review of the contract be undertaken in keeping with current economic realities.

“When faced with the dictates of the IMF the Government found it necessary to renegotiate bond agreements with bond holders, in like vein the plight of the people should urge the government to have detailed discussions with the toll operators with the view of reducing the burden on the citizens and the Government” added Green

The organisation expressed surprise that the Government failed to engage the developer to exercise its powers under the contract to provide discounts to the people of Portmore.

Time for a stand

G2K noted that the toll contract was entered into by the Government despite vehement opposition by the citizens and, to date, no steps have been taken to address the concerns of the residents especially regarding the state of the only alternative route. The organisation reminded the residents that the cost to travel the toll road has moved from sixty dollars to one hundred and fifty dollars over the last 7 years. The organisation fully supports the call of its Portmore Chapter and urged the citizens of Portmore to increase their advocacy and to make a definitive statement through a process of activism starting with a complete boycott of the Portmore leg of the Highway 2000 on Thursday July 11, 2013.
 




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