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DRAFT March 1996

I. Basic Features of the Sector
A. Road Transport
B. Railways
C. Maritime Transport
D. Air Transport

II. Policies of the Sector
A. Roads
B. Maritime Transport
C. Air Transport

III. Description of the Principal Issues and Constraints Facing the Sector
A. Issues
B. Constraints

IV. Sectoral Objectives
A. Road Transport
B. Maritime Transport
C. Air Transport

V. Policies for Achieving Stated Objectives
A. Road Transport
B. Maritime Transport
C. Air Transport

VI. Recommended Legislative Changes
A. Road Transport
B. Maritime Transport
C. Air Transport

VII. Preliminary Investment Programme
A. Roads
B. Maritime Transport
C. Air Transport

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I. Basic Features of the Sector

The transport sector consists of a totality of physical facilities, terminals, fleets and ancillary equipment of all the various modes of transport operating in Guyana. Included in the sector are the transport services, transport agencies providing the services, the organisations and people who plan, build, maintain, and operate the system, and the policies that mould its development.

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A. Road Transport

1. The Road Network

Historically, road transportation was essential to link the sugar plantations with each other on the coastal plains close to the Atlantic Ocean and to the capital city of Georgetown and to New Amsterdam. The sugar produced on the plantations was transported along these main roads to Georgetown for export, and imported food items and capital goods reached these scattered plantation settlements via these same roads.

Today, these coastal roads and other found along the river banks of the major rivers constitute the principal road network radiating from Georgetown to Crabwood Creek in East Berbice and Charity on the Essequibo Coast. Additionally, the Soesdyke/Linden Highway links Georgetown with the bauxite mining town of Linden. Settlements are strung along both sides of the road, which facilitate internal trade among communities and speedier communications.

With the development of the proposed road to the interior, linking Georgetown with Lethem, the population of the overcrowded coastal area will have the option of settling in the hinterland. Likewise, since overland transportation is cheaper than air freight, food and manufactured items will reach interior residents at lower prices. Also, agricultural commodities from the interior will reach and compete in the coastal market.

Road transportation had played a crucial role on the early development of this country. It continues to chart an integral part in the development process. For the foreseeable future, road transportation will still have to be relied on as a basic factor for promoting and sustaining economic and social development.

The main roads or primary roads comprise approximately 88 percent of the paved main roads or 13 percent of the paved roads network in Guyana. Main roads facilitate movement of goods, services, and passenger traffic, accounting for more than 90 percent of all transportation, compared with other modes of transportation, including sea, air, and other land base road network.

The Timehri/Georgetown/Rosignol roads, when completed, will facilitate more efficient road communication from and to the western part of Guyana to Georgetown and the main airport located at Timehri. In the Georgetown/Timehri stretch, a rehabilitation project of 30 miles has started. The other two lots, namely the Georgetown/Mahaica (25 miles) and the Mahaica/Rosignol (40 miles), are projected to commence before the end of this year.

The Corentyne Highway and West Demerara/East Bank Essequibo Highway are currently undergoing maintenance works. The Essequibo Road between Supenaam and Charity, which was undergoing rehabilitation works, was brought to an end due to the termination of the contract. This road will be re-advertised in two lots and works should start in six months.

The Soesdyke/Linden Highway will benefit from a CDB loan that targets mainly some bridges along this roadway for rehabilitation. This project should come on stream shortly.

With the completion of these projects the main roadways will be completely refurbished and should last another twenty years with the implementation of routine scheduled maintenance.

In total, the present main road network is approximately 1,610 miles long, comprising:

a. Primary roads: 19 percent in the coastal and riverain areas serving the agricultural sector, and the road to Linden serving the mining and forestry sectors.

b. Feeder roads: 20 percent linking the agricultural areas along the coast to the primary road network.

c. Interior roads and trails that make up 61 percent of the network and serve the interior.

The main road in Guyana is 270 miles long and runs parallel to the shoreline. It extends from Charity in the North to Crabwood Creek in the South. The Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice rivers punctuate this road. Ferries provide links across these rivers. The Demerara river, however, is spanned by a "unifloat bridge," 1.2 miles long, in addition to the ferry linkage. This pontoon bridge was constructed as a temporary structure 18 years ago.

Access roads or feeder roads link the main roads with residential areas or agricultural areas that are some distance off the main road. Most access roads are in poor condition. Through the Ministry of Public Works, SIMAP, Futures Fund and the Basic Needs Trust Fund, the Central Government has targeted several access roads for complete rehabilitation. In Region 4 in particular, many access roads have been rehabilitated. Recently the Buxton access road, Ogle airport road, and industry access road have been rehabilitated. Many other access roads are identified to be rehabilitated within the next three periods.

Outside the existing main roads there are several other interior roads and/or trails which comprise approximately 1,570 miles. Most of those roads are unpaved allowing for rapid deterioration.

These roads/trails are found mostly in the hinterlands and riverain areas that are not densely populated compared with the coast land. Important mining and forestry activities, however, are linked by these roads/trails that facilitate communication between mining and forestry communities and the more developed coastal areas. This roads/trails network provides one option as communication link with the hinterland and interior communities.

Some new roads have been planned that include roads/trails being upgraded to the level of main roads. Below is a list of some of these projects:

1. Crabwood Creek/Orealla

2. Parika/Makouria

3. Sheriff Street/Timehri

4. Patentia/Kamudi

5. Kwakwani/Ituni

6. Cowfalls/Wanatoba Falls

It is estimated that roads carry close to 80 percent of the passenger traffic and about 33 percent of the freight. Table 38-2 shows that, in addition to private cars, 2,843 hire cars and 4,068 buses provide road passenger transport. Freight transport is provided by 2,432 trucks and 3,241 tractor/trailers.

Table 38-1

Guyana's Road Network (km)

by Road Classification, Surface Type, and Condition
Paved Unpaved Total
Good Fair Poor Sum Good Fair Poor Sum Km %
Coastal area

minor roads

- 42 24 6 - 24 424 448 514 20
Interior roads/trails - 21 - 21 282 438 829 1,549 1,570 61
TOTAL 152 248 122 522 282 462 1,310 2,054 2,576 100
Percent 6 9 5 20 11 18 51 80 100

Source: World Bank IRP staff appraisal report, mission estimates.

Table 38-2

Vehicle Fleet, 1989-1993
Vehicle Type 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993
Private cars 15,868 14,733 14,951 16,416 17,795
Hire cars 2,738 2,446 2,256 2,686 2,843
Buses 1,920 2,325 1,937 2,076 4,068
Lorries 1,270 1,623 1,543 1,859 2,432
Station wagons 1,120 2,070 1,857 2,061 2,224
Construction vehicles 110 9 86 109 218
Hearses 11 9 21 24 25
Ambulances 15 13 9 12 12
Fire Dept. cars 10 7 8 14 24
Tank wagons 18 12 16 20 20
Motorcycles 4,990 4,284 4,774 5,440 6,695
Vans, pick-ups 1,525 1,944 1,984 2,135 2,543
Trailers 1,150 991 931 1,369 1,795
Articulated vehicles 59 11 32 38 45
Tractors 2,250 2,112 2,303 2,815 3,241
TOTAL 33,054 32,589 32,708 37,074


Table 38-3

Transport and Harbours Department Traffic

1990 - 1994
Service Passengers '000 Freight '000 tons Vehicles '000
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994
Berbice Ferry 1,161 1,033 1,306 1,412 1,635 69 97 95 110 92 130 141 136 158 140
Demerara Ferry 2,032 953 953 835 997 12 2 1 2 1 - - 2 - -
Parika/Leguan 100 89 89 142 112 3 3 3 2 2 5 4 .80 5 4
Parika/Bartica 32 60 49 47 38 3 4 6 6 17 .70 1 1 1
Parika/Adventure 164 107 94 122 150 16 13 14 16 3 9 6 8 13 12
Berbice River 4 10 9 11 11 1 1 2 3 2 - - - - -
North West District 6 6 6 6 6 4 4 6 5 4 0 0 0 0 0

2. Rehabilitation

Total neglect of the main road network during the past two decades led to deterioration of most of these roads. The collapse of the road infrastructure has made it imperative that a major rehabilitation programme be undertaken. With the assistance of donors agencies, namely IDA, CDB, and IDB in particular, funding has been secured to rehabilitate several major roads.

The construction of the Supenaam to Charity road commenced in 1994 and was due to be completed and handed over in January 1996. The Brazilian firm Paranapanema won the US$9.6 million road contract. Initially, this contracting firm experienced significant scheduled time overruns. Its physical work backlog accumulated to a point where completing the project within its scheduled time was simply not possible for the firm. Additionally, the supervising contractor filed several complaints against the standard and quality of the work done on the road. As a consequence of the several negative factors mentioned above, the Ministry of Public Works, Communications, and Regional Development canceled the contact.

This project will be re-advertised in two lots. Despite expediting the contract, the residents on the Essequibo Coast must wait a little longer to benefit from a rehabilitated metal surface main road.

The Timehri/Georgetown road construction was awarded to Elias/H.H. International. Work is in progress on this road. The other two lots, the Georgetown/Mahaica and the Mahaica/Rosignol road, will be awarded before the end of this year. The rehabilitation of the Timehri/Georgetown/ Rosignol roads will boost the efficiency of road transportation in Regions 4 and 5.

All these major road contracts have been awarded to expatriate engineering firms. Domestic capability to undertake road rehabilitation is seriously inadequate. Local contractors will need to pool their resources and bid as a syndicate that will enable them to compete effectively. Also, they should boost their machinery and equipment stock and increase the skill level of the work force resources.

Road building materials are expensive. Quarry material, although mined locally, is as expensive as imported stones. The two local suppliers operate in a monopoly market, which allows them to maintain high prices for the materials. With the recent opening of a third quarry and leasing out of other quarry sites, the monopoly position of the two domestic suppliers of quarry products should be broken and the exorbitant price level for these products should decrease.

3. Maintenance

Road maintenance is very important to preserve and prolong the life of road infrastructure. Maintenance had been neglected in the past and the repetition of this situation should not be tolerated now nor in the future.

The West Demerara/East Bank Essequibo Highway and the Corentyne Highway are currently undergoing maintenance. The two-year maintenance programme for the West Demerara Highway should be completed at the end of this year.

The maintenance programmes for the Georgetown/Timehri and Mahaica Roads were recently completed. Currently, the Black Bush Feeder Road is undergoing maintenance. After the maintenance programme has been completed, a rigorous road maintenance schedule should be worked out and implemented.

Keys to improving maintenance in the future will include greater cost recovery, greater budgetary allocations for maintenance, and contracting out the maintenance work. To maintain the road network at an acceptable level, sufficient financial resources should be set aside for road repairs. Currently, the Central Government collects revenue from road users as tolls, fuel taxes, and road licences. These funds go into the Government's general revenue. On the other hand, the funds for maintenance are transferred through the PSIP of the Ministry of Public Works, Communications, and Regional Development. However, the collection of revenue from roads users has been greater than the amount transferred for road maintenance, and in the future the set-asides for this purpose will be increased.

4. Hinterland Road

There is an urgent need to construct a road passing through the hinterland to link Lethem with Georgetown. The long and short term advantages of this road from an economic, strategic and security viewpoint are obvious. However, several attempts had been made in the past without the project being successfully completed.

The Brazilian and Guyana governments in 1989 agreed to construct this road, with the Brazilian government providing US$30 million. A distance of 210 kilometers (between Lethem and Kurupukari) has been completed at a cost of US$16 million, and 136 kilometers are still pending completion. Bringing this project to conclusion is a basic element of this National Development Strategy.

5. Regulatory Framework

The regulatory functions of the Road Administration Division (RAD) of the Ministry of Public Works, Communications, and Regional Development, are not being enforced. The RAD has responsibility to set fare structures for public transportation. With the influx of minibuses, there has been a tendency by the RAD not to intervene in the setting of fare structure, but to allow market forces of supply and demand to set the fare structure. The Consumer Protection Division of the Ministry of Trade, Tourism, and Industry may be replacing the RAD in interacting with the minibus association to determine fare structure for public transport.

6. Demerara Harbour Bridge

The Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) was constructed and opened to vehicular and passenger traffic in 1978. It provides an important link across the Demerara River, connecting Georgetown to the West Demerara. It also supplements the passenger ferry service operated by the Transport and Harbours Department (T&HD) between Vreed-en-Hoop on the West Demerara and Georgetown. About twenty registered water taxis provide passenger transport between Georgetown and Vreed-en-Hoop in direct completion with the T&HD service.

The useful life of the DHB was projected to run for fifteen years. By 1993 the useful life of the bridge expired. Despite regular and routine maintenance, the present condition of the bridge is far from conforming to the required safety standards. The bridge has collapsed several times and occasionally for prolonged periods, during which the economic and social activities on both sides of the Demerara River grind to a halt. Agricultural commodities, such as rice, sugar, alcohol, ground provisions, dairy products, and beef cattle, cannot be transported to Georgetown from the West Demerara end. Similarly, construction materials, imported food items, chemicals, fertilisers and machinery and equipment, destined for West Demerara, are unduly delayed in Georgetown. The continued and efficient operation of a bridge across the Demerara river are very vital to stimulate rice growth and development in the West Demerara area.

The Government of Guyana, under the Lomé IV EEC/ACP agreement received US$8.6 million grant to finance the rehabilitation of the DHB. The project will replace pontoons and flotation units that should add another ten years of life to the existing structure. The project commenced in October 1995 and it is projected to be completed in approximately eighteen months.

Over time, however, constructing a permanent bridge structure across the Demerara River is necessary. Such a bridge will be expensive but it will also have a useful life of at least a period of 150 years. The Government is cash strapped to financed the construction of such a bridge and, therefore will seek collaboration from the private sector, with external engineering firms and financing agencies, in sponsoring the long-term bridge project.

7. Bridging the Berbice River

There has been public discussion with respect to bridging the Berbice River, linking New Amsterdam and East Berbice with Regions 4 and 5 and, via the Demerara River, with Region 3, also. The ferry and pontoon services plying between New Amsterdam and Rosignol are inadequate to move the increasing passenger and cargo traffic between these two points.

This project has widespread support among the Berbicians, and the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association has been lobbying for it. It has also been in the agenda of the Guyana/India Joint Commission, and the Government of India, through Guyana's Foreign Affairs Ministry, has shown interest in undertaking the feasibility study for this project.

The Berbice River bridge will be of special importance when the Guyana/Surinam Ferry Service becomes operational in the next two years. This Strategy places high priority on the construction of this bridge.

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B. Railways

Commercial railway service was operated by T&HD until 1974 in Guyana. The two areas of operation were Vreed-en-Hoop/Parika (18.5 miles) and Georgetown/Rosignol (65 miles). Railway service facilitated the movement of passengers and cargo. With the upgrading of the West Demerara/ East Bank Essequibo and the East Demerara/West Berbice roadway, the Government decided in mid 1970s to cease operating the T&HD railway services.

Railway service is still in operation in Linden, mainly to move bauxite ore. In the Matthews Ridge area there is a 32-mile railway service. Formerly, the railway was used to move passenger and ore by the Manganese Company that operated there.

GUYSUCO also has railway service in the Lusignan and Blairmont sugar estates to facilitate the movement of its employees.

As a mode of transportation, railways could play an important role in the future development of Guyana. In the hinterland and interior areas, the possibility of establishing railways could be an option. It could facilitate the mining and forestry sector activities, and connect the interior with the coastal area. Detailed studies of the rail option will be carried out for selected routes.

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C. Maritime Transport

The infrastructure that supports water transport in Guyana is lined along the banks of the navigable rivers, namely, the Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice wharves.

Besides the wharves and stellings that provide coastal and inland linkages, there are facilities that handle the country's overseas shipping requirements and some coastal linkages as well. The main port of Georgetown, located at the mouth of the Demerara river, comprises several wharves, most of which are privately owned. Three berths are available for oceangoing vessels at Linden. At the aluminum plant there is a concrete wharf while the bauxite plant has a calcined wharf and a metal grade wharf. Linden drying and processing equipment are sited at Everton on the Berbice River for the production of three grades of bauxite: calcined, metal, and chemical grades.

Draught constraints limit the size of vessels using Georgetown's Harbour to no more than 25,000 dwt. Recent improvements in the deepwater channel in the Berbice River have made it possible for ships of up to 45,000 dwt to dock there. Guyana's foreign trade is handled by foreign shipping companies. The largest bulk exports are bauxite and sugar, and the largest imports are

petroleum and wheat flour. Important breakbulk exports include rice and timber. Containers are used but are not part of the internal transport system, so they are loaded and unloaded at the ports.

Internal barge transport is important for bauxite, sugar, rice and aggregates. In the case of sugar, for example, 98 percent of the sugar exports is delivered by barge to the port of Georgetown for export. Rivers are used for moving logs and account for a significant share of passengers traveling to the interior. It is estimated that about 1,000 km of waterways are important for commerce. In addition, drainage canals are used for collecting sugar on the estates and for personal travel.

Ferry services link the primary roads in the coastal area, and Guyana with Suriname. The Government's Transport and Harbours Department provide scheduled ferry services in the Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice rivers. Small privately-owned river rafts supplement these services.

Table 38-4

Transport and Harbours Department Fleet of Vessels

Name of Vessel Service Age


Type Capacity Trucks
Passenger Car
MV Makouria G/town/V.Hoop 36 Pass/vehicle 1200 30 15
MV Malali Parika/Adventure 34 1200 30 15
MV Torani Rosignol/

New Amsterdam

35 1200 30 15
MV Lukanani Stanleytown/Ituni 81 Passenger Coastal 390

River 682

7 -
MV Kimbia G/town/North West


74 Pass/Cargo 200
MV Lady North Cote Relief vessel 58 Coastal 390

River 682

MV Barima Parika/Bartica 56 Coastal 390

River 682

MV Marudi Cargo

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D. Air Transport

Air transport plays a vital role in the development of Guyana. Within the country, it provides a link between the coastal areas and communities in the hinterland, many of which are inaccessible by any other means of transportation. Thus the economic and social well being of these areas and their integration into the fabric of the nation are critically dependent on the availability of air transport. Externally, passengers are moved to and from the country almost entirely by air, and the potential of this mode of transport for the carriage of cargo, especially exports, continues to increase.

Although air transport in Guyana had its early beginnings in the 1920s when the first "bush" services were introduced, Government's earnest participation can be dated from 1947 when a Director of Civil Aviation was appointed to regulate the industry.

In 1955, the Government purchased the British Guiana Airways, a private airline that had been operating regular internal services since 1939. External services continued to be supplied almost exclusively by foreign airlines until very recently.

In 1972 the Guyana Airways Corporation initiated a cargo service to Miami but its real entry into international passenger operations can be dated to 1979 when it commenced scheduled regional services with two HS748 aircraft. Subsequently, restrictions on the repatriation of profits in foreign exchange and other circumstances contributed to the withdrawal of services to Guyana by foreign airlines, and Guyana Airways Corporation was obliged to fill the breach as best as it could.

By 1980 Guyana Airways Corporation's domestic operations started to deteriorate for a number of reasons, not least among them the unrealistically low fares charged and the lack of access to foreign exchange for imported parts and other inputs. At the same time military aviation, which had been used to supplement the efforts of Guyana Airways Corporation, also suffered a deterioration for the same reason that the foreign exchange was scarce. After 1980 the private sector began to fill the gap and by 1991 three major domestic charter operators had emerged. Guyana Airways Corporation's domestic service continued to go downhill and hit bottom in 1993 when it started the year with only one Twin Otter DHC-6 to service the entire country. Under new management it has been revitalised and has seen a partial return to its original domestic role with the addition of two Skyvan SC7 aircraft and a reintroduction of several domestic scheduled routes.

At present, there are 150 airfields in use across the country (see Map 38-1.) Ogle, one of the main secondary aerodromes, is located about 6 miles east of Georgetown. It is the base from which small private aircraft operate chartered flights from the coastland to the hinterland. Of the hinterland aerodromes Lethem is rated the best. It can accommodate DC6 aircraft.

Guyana has one international airport that is located at Timehri, about 20 miles south of Georgetown and can receive aircraft of the size of a Boeing 707.

Map 38-1

The existing system of navigational aids comprises the following components:

Timehri -- (a) One very high frequency omni-directional radio range (VOR) with distance measuring equipment (DME).

(b) An instrument landing system (ILS) with outer locator.

(c) A very high frequency direction finder (VHF/DF).

(d) A dual approach visual approach slope indicator system (VASIS).

(e) A non-directional beacon (NDB).

Hinterland -- Three non-directional beacons.

Timehri Airport is in a badly deteriorated state. A reflection of its condition is found in the fact that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has consistently denied applications of US airlines to fly into Timehri, on grounds that it is unsafe. Nevertheless, the problems have been recognised, some of them have been corrected, and efforts are underway to solve most of the others. An up-to-date summary of the situation at Timehri is as follows, as of January, 1996:

  1. Crash Fire Rescue Services. The airport is classified as Category 4, which means that emergency service could be provided only for aircraft of the size of a Dash-8 or smaller. However, the Fire Service is in the process of acquiring two new foam tenders; they have been paid for and will arrive this year. This will upgrade the airport to Category 7 which meets the requirements of commercial jet airplanes.

  2. Security. Better fencing is needed as the facilities have been vandalised frequently. Approximately 50 percent of the required fencing is being funded under the Cariforum Project and will come on stream this year.

  3. Maintenance of Telecommunications and Navigational Aids. Maintenance of these facilities has improved and preventive maintenance practices have been instituted, following the recommendations of a CIDA consultant.

  4. The Air Traffic Control Tower. The tower is in dilapidated shape and urgently needs rehabilitation. The air traffic control system will benefit from both the Public Administration Project and the Cariforum Project. The former will provide new networks of the types VHF-DF, PAPI and PC, for the information management system. The Cariforum Project will provide a new voice switch system along with new consoles. In addition the extended range VHF equipment will be replaced, a new AFTN and automated weather displays will be part of the project. To date tenders have been received and evaluated for these purposes, and recommendations have been made to the EEC for the awarding of the contract, which should have occurred by the end of February, 1996.

  5. Instrument Landing System. Early in 1996 repairs were made to the ILS Localiser and Glide Path and further repairs are scheduled for later in the year. The DME is operational and meets all requirements.

  6. Airport Management. Airport management continues to suffer from insufficient and inadequately trained staff, especially in the areas of financial management, revenue generation, the planning of maintenance, and the procurement of spares and equipment.

  7. High Frequency Communications. The HF transmitters were repaired subsequent to damage from a lightning strike but were not restored to service owing to defective remote control cables. This facility is being replaced by a stand-alone 100-watt transceiver.

  8. Navigation Beacon (VOR/DME). The VOR is now operational. The DME is now under repairs to restore the #2 transponder to service. The oscilloscope for the test unit was replaced. There has been no vandalism of this site for more than a year.

  9. ILS Outer Locator. Operations at this beacon have improved. The reliability has risen to about 85 percent, and the beacon is serviced on a regular maintenance schedule. It is planned to reduce dependence on the beacon by the introduction of an ILS/DME approach system, which means instrument landing would be feasible without the use of the outer locator.

  10. Non-Directional Beacon. This equipment, although old, is being maintained to a very high standard.

  11. Meteorological Services. These services still suffer from deficiencies that need to be corrected.

  12. Telecommunications and Navigation Power System. The VOR generator is operational except that it does not self-start. Measures are in place to start the generator as it becomes necessary. Work is in progress to repair the damaged underground cable which feeds the VOR, DME and Glide Path. However, there are UPS at the sites to interface with the primary power.

  13. Cargo Facilities. Two cargo operators, Laparkan and Amerijet, have covered storage facilities at the airport. There still are no refrigeration facilities but both operators have plans for installing containers in the near future.

The Civil Aviation Department of the Ministry of Public Works, Communications and Regional Development is responsible for:

- Regulations for air transport/civil aviation.

- Licensing of aerodromes, airstrips, pilots and aviation related facilities.

- Regulation, operation, and maintenance of the air navigation system and air traffic services.

- Aviation security.

- Airworthiness and accident investigation.

- Search and rescue.

The Air Transport Advisory Board is responsible for advising the Minister of Public Works on approval for scheduled flight operations, rates, fares, and tariffs.

Air transport is provided by the following public and private operators:

- Guyana Airways Corporation (government-owned)(1), domestic and international flights.

- Guyana Defence Force, mercy and limited commercial flights.

- General aviation (privately owned), domestic and international flights.

- Foreign airlines: BWIA, SLM, LIAT, Carib Express, American Trans Air, Laparkan (cargo only), Amerijet, FDD (freight), Express (charters).

Related and support services include:

- Air meteorological service provided by the Hydrometeorological Department of the Ministry of Agriculture.

- Crash, fire, and rescue services provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

- Passenger and cargo handling services (Guyana Airways).

- Passengers' processing services provided by Immigration, Customs, Health and Quarantine Authorities.

- Pilot training (Guyana School of Aviation).

- Maintenance organisation (Caribbean Helicopters).

Guyana is a member of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which establishes standards for airports and navigational services.

Table 38-5

Fleet of Aircraft in Guyana for Domestic Services

Operators Serviceable Passenger Total payload (lbs.)
GAC 2 Skyvans

1 Twin Otter

34 6,340
Air Services Ltd. 2 BN 2A Islander

1 Piper Seneca

3 Cessna 206

1 Cessna 182

1 Cessna 172











Trans Guyana Airways 1 Shorts Skyvan

3 BN 2A Islander

1 Cessna 206 G

1 Cessna 185 F

1 Cessna 172 M











Guyana Defence Force 1 BN 2A Islander 9 1,525
GUYSUCO 1 Cessna 402

1 Cessna 185





Kayman Sankar Aviation Ltd. 2BN 2A Islander

1 Cessna 206 G

1 Cessna 172 M







Air Link 1 Cessna 206 G 5 1,050
Rali Aviation 1 A 185 F 3 550
Nova 1 Cessna 206 G 5 1,050
Willems Timber & Trading 1 Cessna 206 G 5 1,050
Ampa Investment 1 Cessna 210 5 1,050

Table 38-5 shows the fleet of aircraft responsible for the movement of air traffic in Guyana. GAC is the main entity responsible for the movement of domestic traffic between the coast and the hinterland. It provides scheduled and chartered domestic services to fifteen airstrips in the hinterland. Regions 1, 7, 8, and 9 utilise three aircraft with combined capacity of 53 passengers. Private commercial operators provide charter services to many hinterland locations, some of which GAC does not serve. The Guyana Defence Force also operates primarily for the Army affairs, but sometimes diverts flights to transport freight and civilian passengers.

Table 38-6 shows domestic traffic moved by GAC during the period 1989-1993.

Table 38-6

GAC Domestic Passenger and Freight

Traffic by Region

1989 - 1993
Route Number of passengers Freight (kilos)
1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993
Region 1 2,253 2,021 2,807 4,316 4,964 10,000 6,000 4,046 25,808 115,197
Region 7 527 552 730 703 3,484 161,000 374,000 773,254 705,239 9,827
Region 8 901 669 275 529 3,125 190,000 153,000 125,662 168,751 252,153
Region 9 5,458 2,741 2,790 4,570 5,087 562,000 306,000 39,947 5,282 45,344
Other 654 23,174

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II. Policies of the Sector

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A. Roads

1. Construction and Maintenance

The reorganisation of the Ministry of Public Works in 1965 led to the establishment of the Roads Division, with a specialised section for construction and maintenance. A deliberate policy towards improvement of the road system developed, and marked progress on the improvement of the coastal road network took place. With the assistance of USAID several roads were constructed or reconstructed, as shown in Table 38-7.

Two new bridges were opened to traffic in 1978, namely, the modern high-level concrete bridge across the Canje River and the floating bridge across the Demerara River. So far Government has taken the sole responsibility for financing construction of roads and bridges, but changes in that policy are proposed in this Strategy.

With the 1996 National Budget, a step was taken toward substantial increases in collection of fees from vehicle ownership and licensing, in recognition of the need for greater funds for road construction and maintenance.

2. Public Transport

Before 1970 transportation of passengers by road was done by private operators of hire cars, taxi, and buses. Private individuals and private companies provided bus services.

In 1970 Guyana Transport Services Ltd. was established. The Government was the majority shareholder and the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union was the minority shareholder. Services of the private bus operators were only allowed in the area of Canal No. 1 and 2, the Essequibo coast and islands, and in Georgetown and Linden.

With the acquisition in 1977 of the assets of the Motor Transport Services Limited (a bus company providing services to the Georgetown urban area) and of McKenzie Transport Services, the Guyana Transport Services Ltd. was able to extend its services to all coastal routes, including Linden, with the exception of the Essequibo coast and islands. By 1988 the services were significantly shrunk due to the company's inability to maintain an adequate fleet or rolling stock resulting from the nationwide economic hardship.

The continued poor performance of the bus company prompted the Government to privatise the company. In the meantime, steps were taken to ensure the provision of adequate public transport. Minibuses were introduced in the system in 1982. The policy was to encourage the operation of minibuses to complement the services provided by GTSL. Duty free concession was provided and the capacity limitation was increased from 14 seats to 25 seats and to 45 seats afterwards. The fleet for the transport of road passengers was significantly improved as a result of these policies.

Public transport, however, has an alarming rate of accidents, mainly in the case of minibuses.

Table 38-7

Roads Constructed/Reconstructed
Year of completion Road Length (miles) Surface
1967 Mahaica Mahaicony

Adventure - Anna Regina



Asphaltic concrete

Asphaltic concrete & DBST

1968 Mahaicony - Blairmont




Asphaltic concrete

Asphaltic concrete

1969 Mocha 2.10 DBST
1970 Black Bush Polder 22.0 Sand asphalt
1971 New Amsterdam-

Crabwood Creek

50.0 Sand asphalt
1972 New Amsterdam-Everton

Uitvlugt - Parika

Carifesta Avenue





Asphaltic concrete

Asphaltic concrete

1973 Blairmont - Ithaca

Cane Grove Branch Road

Burma Road

Main St. New Amsterdam








Asphaltic concrete

1974 Homestretch Avenue

Young Street & Camp Road

Mahaicony Branch Road




Asphaltic concrete

Asphaltic concrete


1975 Parika Hubu 5.0 DBST
1976 East Canje

Belu Clay Brick



Asphaltic concrete

Asphaltic concrete

1977 West Canje 3.50 DBST
1978 Upper Mazaruni

Vreed-en-Hoop - Patentia

Vreed-en-Hoop - Stewartville

Canal No. 2






Asphaltic concrete

Asphaltic concrete

Asphaltic concrete

1979 Canal No. 1

East Coast Highway

Georgetown roads

Wismar - Mabura





Asphaltic concrete

Asphaltic concrete

Asphaltic concrete


1983 Mon Repos Branch Road

East Bank Berbice



Asphaltic concrete


1991 Lethem - Kurupakari 130.0 Laterite

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B. Maritime Transport

The European markets organised the ports established in British Guiana to facilitate the accessibility to primary products. These ports were Georgetown at the estuary of the Demerara River, and Linden, sixty-five miles up the Demerara River. This historical condition has remained virtually unchanged in contemporary Guyana. Consequently, the limitations have become more pronounced as the need to expand the ports and shipping industry increases.

Over the years, the Central Government has been making capital releases to help in the development of shipping related facilities such as ferry vessels and wharves. Meanwhile, the current revenue of the Transport and Harbours Department meets the current operational costs.

A first attempt at preparing a comprehensive transport plan was made in 1975. A policy recommendation of that plan was to complete "a study of Transport and Harbours organisation operation and services to increase the efficiency of its services and provide the basis for future development and improvement to its fleet, port and stelling and shore equipment." Two phases of that study were completed. Phase 1 recommended a short-term action programme to rehabilitate the existing ferry vessel. Implementation of this programme involved the rehabilitation of and installation of new engines in three vessels (Makouria, Malali, and Torani). Phase 2 involved preliminary design of two new stellings (Goodman Freetown and Supenaam), the conversion into Ro-Ro type technology of five stellings (New Amsterdam, Rosignol, Parika, Leguan, and Wakenaam), and two Ro-Ro type vessels. The final design and tender dossiers for vessels and stellings were not commissioned.

To date, ferry services have received a cross-subsidy financed by other revenues collected by the Transport and Harbours Department.

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C. Air Transport

There is no approved Air Transport Policy or Act for Guyana, and the UK Colonial Air Navigation Order (1961) still administers Guyana's air transport.

The Timehri International Airport Act governs the operations at Timehri International Airport. Currently, air transport and civil aviation matters are examined by the Civil Aviation Department and/or the Air Transport Advisory Board. Recommendations are submitted to the Minister of Public Works, Communication, and Regional Development for action.

A draft national air transport policy and a draft Civil Aviation Bill were prepared two years ago but need to be updated to take into account the policy guidelines in this National Development Strategy.

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III. Description of the Principal Issues and Constraints Facing the Sector

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A. Issues

1. Road Transport

Some major issues in the road transportation subsector are:

  • An insufficient network of major bridges.

  • Poor maintenance of the existing road network. Road maintenance has been neglected for the past two decades. Consequently, most of the major road networks have deteriorated. The implementation of an effective road maintenance programme will contribute to:

    a. reducing road user costs;

    b. keeping in good condition the road network;

    c. prolonging the useful life of the road;

    d. utilising scare resources more efficiently;

    e. improving safety.

  • An inadequate road network to link coastland to interior areas. The completion of the road link to Lethem is an urgent priority in this regard.

  • Insufficient all-weather road links to mining, forest, and agriculture areas to facilitate development.

  • Overloading of axles on the main network.

  • Congestion at the Demerara Harbour Bridge Crossing.

  • Domestic contractors' incapacity to bid successfully for major road projects, and their lack of participation in road maintenance.

  • Encroachment on road reserves.

  • A need to promote safe and orderly public transport.

  • A need to find ways to enhance cost recovery in the sector, in order to increase the funding available for expanding its capacity, and allocate a greater share of user fees to road maintenance.

    2. Maritime Transport

    The following are some issues that influence the scope and quality of the operations in the maritime transport subsector.

  • The widespread decentralisation of economic activities and the corresponding development of the interior regions of the country, signal a greater demand for water transport.

  • There has been a shift in emphasis from the Demerara transshipment station to the Berbice River deep-water channels to help the entry and exit of larger ships that transport bauxite out of Guyana. The next step will be the creation of a full-service deepwater harbour.

  • The introduction of the Guyana/Suriname Ferry Service would create added demand for the Berbice Ferry service.

  • The development of Port State Control regulations on a regional basis and through the Association of Caribbean States demands the upholding of stricter safety standards regarding coastal, regional, and international shipping.

  • The aids to navigation in the harbours of the country are insufficient.

  • The continuing financial and administrative deficiencies of the Transport and Harbours Department points to the need for an autonomous Port Authority.

  • State-run ferry operations are not recovering their costs.

    3. Air Transport

    One of the most significant characteristics of the air transport sector is the marked absence of up-to-date civil aviation legislation. This, among other issues, determines the role and scope of the sector to realise its potential in the national development effort. More specifically, the issues facing the air transport sector are outlined below:

  • Civil aviation in Guyana is still being administered under the United Kingdom Air Navigation Order of 1961. This order does not acknowledge the evolving changes in the aviation environment internationally and locally.

  • The public service bureaucracy impedes the operations of civil aviation as it relates to the decision making and implementation process for air transport operations and licencing. The number of commercial seats on domestic flights is restricted, and potential private participation in management of aerodromes (Ogle) is being curtailed.

  • The government's financial and procurement systems restrict the efficient functioning of airports required to provide services, facilities, and air navigation systems on a 24-hour basis.

  • International air connections remain limited, in respect of both types of aircraft and frequency of flights, and too many international flights have to stop in neighboring countries before reaching their final destinations. In this regard, regulations for international travel are inappropriate from a viewpoint of enhancing fair competition among airlines and promoting the protection of passengers.

  • Implementing the Timehri and Ogle Airports master plans is essential.

  • The future role of the Guyana Airways Corporation has not been defined.

  • There is need for reconciliation between national legislation and internationally accepted rules, regulations, and procedures applicable to international civil aviation, and for ratification of major international conventions on civil aviation.

  • There is need to establish a coordinated airports and air navigation plan to foster the development of interior airfields and national air navigation systems in a cohesive way, and to improve navigation facilities throughout the country.

  • Full and effective participation of the Civil Aviation Authority should be ensured at international meetings.

  • There is a shortage of opportunities and facilities for development of personnel employed within the sector.

  • There is a need to establish an effective and fully equipped Search and Rescue Unit within the air transport sector to provide emergency services.

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    B. Constraints

    1. Road Transport

  • Limited institutional capacity. The Road Administration Division is critically short of technical staff to operate efficiently the many functions that devolve on it. Its inability to attract and retain competent staff is further eroded by:

    a. poor remuneration;

    b. an inadequate and unattractive incentive package;

    c. ad hoc, infrequent or total lack of sustained and relevant training programmes.

  • Inadequate financial resources. The Road Administration Division (RAD) receives funds from the Central Government through PSIP and foreign donor agencies to rehabilitate, maintain, and construct new roadways. The funds are inadequate to allow for the Division to grapple with this gigantic task successfully.

  • Lack of equipment. The stock of machinery and equipment that the RAD has at its disposal is inadequate to undertake an effective road maintenance programme. Consequently, major road maintenance programmes have been awarded to private foreign and local contractors. If this trend proves to be effective, then RAD's equipment should be auctioned off.

  • Lack of private sector investment. Though the provision of road service has always been considered as a public good that the Government has to provide, there should be no serious impediment for private investments in roads, bridges, and railways.

  • Lack of sufficient cost recovery mechanisms in the sector.

    2. Maritime Transport

    Many internal and external constraints influence the general performance of the maritime transport sector. Some of these constraints are:

  • Lack of mechanisms for financing a full service deepwater harbour.

  • Lack of adequate surveillance encourages piracy and vandalism of navigation aids.

  • Nonexistence of a buoy tender makes it very difficult to position and repair aids to navigation.

  • The unavailability of adequate financial resources to acquire the requisite equipment to boost or maintain an efficient and reliable maritime transport service.

  • Lack of the requisite autonomy at the departmental level to set realistic fares and tariffs concerning the facilitation of commercially viable port and ferry services.

  • Weak institutional arrangements and poor financial remuneration for services rendered, therefore, the resultant lack of a commitment and consequential high attrition rate among staff.

  • High maintenance costs to keep pilot and ferry vessels in service because of the relatively old age of the vessels.

  • Unsustainability of the economics of ferries with their present subsidies.

    3. Air Transport

  • Dependence on budgetary allocations by the government is not conducive to the development of the subsector and to its adjustment to rapid changes in the civil aviation.

  • The lack of established policies and regulations to govern the initiation of new airline services and the allocation of routes.

  • Badly deteriorated navigational aids and facilities for airport services.

  • The absence of standard air services agreements with other countries and the need to regularise such agreements already in existence.

  • Guyana Airways Corporation's inability to provide scheduled domestic movement of passengers and cargo demands the removal of restrictions placed on general aviation, limiting the number of seats and aircraft type, to enhance competition and to encourage operations into low density areas.

    [Back to Top]

    IV. Sectoral Objectives

    The principal sectoral objectives could be summarised as follows:

  • Improve port capacity so that ships of greater draft can enter Guyana's harbours.

  • Improve international airport capacity so that larger aircraft can land.

  • Improve the air navigation system, both at Timehri and at aerodromes in the interior.

  • Extend the national transport network and services to development areas and improve its coverage in the hinterland in general.

  • Put road and ferry transport on a financial basis that is more self-sustaining.

  • Expand the country's bridge network.

  • Separate regulatory from operational functions and establish appropriate institutional frameworks for both functions.

  • Introduction of a policy framework that will lead to improvement of international air transport linkages.

  • Adopt measures to improve transport safety in all modes.

    [Back to Top]

    A. Road Transport

    Some important subsectoral objectives include the following:

  • To complete the road link to Lethem.

  • To see that a bridge is constructed across the Berbice River and a new bridge is built across the Demerara River.

  • To strengthen the Road Administration Division and the CTPU institutionally, as these agencies are responsible for the orderly planning, managing, administering, and operating road development programmes.

  • To set and enforce appropriate technical standards for road construction.

  • To foster the participation of local road contractors in road maintenance and construction.

  • To maintain, rehabilitate, and extend existing roadways to facilitate efficient road transportation.

  • To extend the road network to link the coastlands to the interior, by feeder routes in addition to the trunk road to Lethem.

  • To upgrade existing trails in the hinterland.

  • To set up realistic user charges to finance the maintenance of highways.

  • To improve safety and service levels in public transport.

    [Back to Top]

    B. Maritime Transport

    The strategic objectives for the maritime transport sector are as follows:

  • To develop a port capacity for ships of up to 60,000 dwt.

  • To promote reliable and efficient maritime transport in the coastal and riverain areas of the country.

  • To improve the administration of the ports and harbours of Guyana.

  • To train and certify mariners in keeping with established local, regional, and international seafaring guidelines and principles.

  • To improve cost recovery in the subsector.

    The following are more specific or operational objectives:

  • Develop a preliminary plan for a deepwater harbour, including a programme for implementing it.

  • To improve regular ferry and cargo services to and from outlying areas of the country, linking the interior regions with the urban center.

  • Eliminate the subsidy of ferry services.

  • To ensure a high degree of safety standards on board of all the vessels that ply the coastal waters of Guyana, or that are engaged in regional and international shipping.

  • To organise and implement better dredging schedules to keep open the access channels to Guyana's ports of entry and exit, i.e., between 18' and 24' draught.

  • To upgrade wharves and berths in the major ports so that they reflect desired standards in keeping with prescribed harbour and port regulations.

  • To improve the adequacy of the navigational aids to the various access channels in the major rivers of Guyana.

  • To ensure the provision of a reliable twenty-four (24) hours per day pilot service in the major harbours and ports of the country.

    [Back to Top]

    C. Air Transport

    Under this Strategy, the general objectives of the air transport policy are:

  • To increase the capacity and levels of service on domestic routes.

  • To improve airport facilities and navigational services.

  • To expand Guyana's air linkages to the rest of the world via greater availability of international flights and more direct flights to international destinations.

  • Improve search and rescue capacity.

    The operational objectives of the national development strategy for the air transport subsector should include:

  • Promote the expansion of private air services to the hinterland.

  • Expand the capacity of Timehri Airport for international services.

  • Improve the quality of navigational aids at Timehri and at aerodromes throughout the country.

  • Improve the frequency of international air services through an open skies policy.

  • In line with worldwide trends, develop and implement plans for privatising Guyana Airways Corporation, to improve both its service and its revenue contributions to the Government.

  • Establish an autonomous Airports Authority funded by air transport fees.

    [Back to Top]

    V. Policies for Achieving Stated Objectives

    [Back to Top]

    A. Road Transport

    1. Cost Recovery

    Funds for road maintenance are currently derived from general revenue obtained under PSIP allocation and foreign donors loans or grants. The formulation of an appropriate schedule of user charges for road users is another means by which revenues could be generated by the RAD to replace or supplement transfers from the Central Government for road maintenance.

    An annual road maintenance budget should be prepared in which the roadways that should be maintained are identified and priorised. The funds for maintenance must be provided from this budget. A separate road maintenance fund must be established, with decision power on its allocations vested in a board that includes representatives of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Public Works, Communications and Regional Development, regional governments, local governments, and the Private Sector Commission.

    A five-year road maintenance programme to be initiated in 1996 has an annual cost of G$703M (including 10 percent contingency cost) for each year of the programme life.

    Some feasible options are the collection of tolls, sales of stickers, a higher fuel tax, higher purchase tax on vehicles and compulsory loan by new vehicle owners. (See Tables 38-8 and 38-9.)

    To realise adequate funds for roads maintenance, vehicle licences have been updated in the 1996 budget. This will allow for the various categories of vehicle owners to pay more realistic charges that approximate to the economic rate for the provision of road maintenance service. (See Table 38-8.) However, it is advisable to update these fees on a periodic basis so that they achieve the longer term shown in Table 38-10.

    Table 38-8

    Licence Fees Increase in 1996 Budget
    Licence fees with respect to: Current range


    New range




    Motorcycles 300 - 600 600 - 1,200 100
    Other motor vehicles 800 - 3,600 1,600 - 7,200 100
    Passenger vehicles for hire or reward 2,000 - 2,400 3,000 - 3,600 100
    Buses 3,300 - 8,400 4,650 - 12,600 100
    Goods vehicles up to 13,440 lbs. 900 - 12,000 1,800 - 2,400 100
    Other motor vehicles 300 - 1,800 600 - 3,600 100
    Trailers 180 - 360 360 - 1,200 100

    Table 38-9

    Number of Vehicles by Categories

    Category number Components Total
    1 Motorcycles 6,695
    2 Private cars, hire cars 20,638
    3 Minibuses/buses, hearses, ambulances,

    fire dept. cars, station wagons, land rovers

    4 Lorries, vans, pick-ups, tractors* 8,216
    5 Construction vehicles, tank wagons,

    articulated vehicles

    TOTAL 42,185

    *Trailers are excluded.

    Table 38-10

    Proposed vehicle Licences Fees

    (in 1996 prices)


    Total vehicles in 1993 Proposed vehicle

    licence fees


    annual revenue

    1 6,695


    2 20,638 12,000 247,656,000
    3 6,353 20,000 127,060,000
    4 8,216 35,000 287,560,000
    5 283 65,000 18,395,000
    TOTAL 707,451,000

    The fee levels shown in Table 38-10 are equitable in that they share the cost of contributing to the road maintenance fund proportionally, since the ownership of vehicles by category is a reasonable proxy of ability to pay. Additionally, this programme calls for the use of the existing bureaucratic structure to collect the increased licence fees. There will be no need to establish a new institutional structure to garner this tax, thus avoiding additional administrative costs.

    The data used here on vehicle numbers are from 1993. It is projected that for the periods 1996-2000 the number of vehicles will increase annually by 5 percent. Even taking into account inflation, increases in vehicle population will correspondingly increase the total revenue derived from licence fees.

    Initially, however, because of the weak institutional status of RAD, it will be preferable for the Ministry of Finance to continue providing an agency service for RAD, while better cost recovery mechanisms are set up. As the capability of RAD is strengthened, it should eventually undertake its own revenue collection and transfer those revenues to the road maintenance fund.

    2. Expansion of Infrastructure

    a. Plans will be developed for a new bridge across the Demerara River, to be carried out through concessioning if adequate funding cannot otherwise be found. The Demerara Harbour Bridge has been rehabilitated with funding from EEC. This work will extend the life of the bridge for up to another 15 years. It is projected that the current level of operation and maintenance costs will be reduced as a result of the rehabilitation. Also, it will make an increase in the marine traffic toll more palatable. This increase

    had been recommended in 1974 by the Central Transport Planning Unit. Nevertheless, it is urgent to initiate work on plans for a permanent structure, so that construction can begin on it by early 1998 at latest. When it is finished, the existing bridge can provide an outlet for excess traffic in peak periods. It may turn out that the only practicable way to carry out the construction of the new bridge is by concessioning both the building of it and its operation.

    b. A new bridge over the Berbice River will be built. As of this writing, exploratory talks are underway for securing concessional financing for an early start on that project. If such financing in the end proves not to be feasible, then its construction and operation will be put out for concession.

    c. There is an urgent need to construct a road passing through the hinterland to link Lethem with Georgetown. Long and short term advantages of this road from an economic, strategic and security viewpoint are obvious. However, several attempts had been made in the past without the project being successfully completed.

    The Brazilian and Guyana governments in 1989 agreed to construct this road, with the Brazilian government providing US$30 million. A distance of 210 kilometers (between Lethem and Kurupukari) has been completed at a cost of US$16 million, and 136 kilometers are still pending completion. The remaining link of this road will be built as a toll road. The private sector will construct and operate it under an arrangement that allows recovery of costs and reasonable profits.

    d. All road-related projects should conform to the findings of environment impact assessments.

    3. Human Resources Development

    There is a critical shortage of skilled staff to discharge the functions and responsibilities of the RAD. Recruitment and training of the required staff are options. In addition, as a transitional measure, expatriate staff will be recruited to help man the operation of the RAD. However, it should be a short term policy.

    It will be preferable to address the several problems that affect negatively in recruiting and retaining capable and competent staff. Among the major questions that have to be addressed are the following:

    (1) attractive remuneration;

    (2) adequate incentive and fringe benefits package;

    (3) training and upgrading skills of staff.

    4. Regulatory Framework

    a. Institutional Coordination

    Although the RAD has the responsibility for road maintenance and rehabilitation, removing squatters from road reserves and enforcing weight restriction on heavy duty vehicles, it is unable to discharge this mandate due to institutional incapacity. One way to overcome this disadvantage is to work closely with other institutions that can render assistance to the RAD. On the coastland it could work closely with the RDC, non-governmental organisations, and the Guyana Police Force. In the interior and hinterland areas, it could work with the GGMC, GFC, PFA, GGDMA, and Amerindian councils to achieve the same objectives. Collaborating with other institutions should be a policy consideration for the RAD in its current and future road planning and development programmes.

    b. Enforcement

    Weight controls will be enforced on all roads, along with increased frequency of inspection for weight and for observance of safety regulations. Penalties will be increased for unsafe operations of minibuses, violations of weight controls, and encroachment on road reserves.

    5. Public Transport

    a. Setting Fare Structures

    It is acknowledged that market forces could set reasonable price and fare structure that is fair to consumers, passengers, and operators. However, a strong regulatory body should safeguard the public interest. The CTPU/RAD should lead consultations with interest groups to set the fares and review them at regular intervals. The interest of passengers and operators of public transport could begin to look to the regulatory body as an impartial arbiter in the setting of fare structure.

    b. Service and Safety

    Guyana can ill afford the wanton loss of lives on our roads resulting from minibus accidents. Safety measures are definitely required to lower the accident rate. There is also room for improvement as regard the service provided, including as regards to overcrowding. Fines for violation of transport safety regulations will be increased and random inspections of operating minibuses will be carried out with greater frequency.

    6. Investment Strategies

    To date, investment in the road subsector has been largely left to the government. The magnitude of the investment needed in the road transport subsector is overwhelming. Due to limited resources, the Government is unable to undertake any massive investment. There is scope for private investment in other modes of transport, namely in railways and bridges, and to a limited extent in road transport also. Private sector investment should be encouraged to supplement the Government's effort through concessioning the construction and operation of new transport infrastructure, with participation of both domestic and foreign investors. The arrangements should allow for private investors to build and operate infrastructure facilities, to recoup their investment and make reasonable profits. Allowing such a policy to prevail will materialise in more roads and allied transport networks, thus relieving the communication bottlenecks considerably.

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    B. Maritime Transport

    This is a particularly sensitive sector because of two main reasons: (1) the importance of our main sea ports to the economic development of the country (because virtually all our exports and imports are transported by sea), and (2) the need for water transport service to some critical interior regions of the country.

    Serious emphasis should be placed on the formulation and development of a maritime transport policy. The absence of such a policy can seriously impede development and set the stage for serious hardships at a personal level as well as at the level of society. This must, therefore, be viewed in the context that river and coastal transport contribute to economic growth and national prosperity through their services to industry, commerce and agriculture.

    The following are key aspects of a maritime transport policy:

    1. Institutional and Administrative Framework

    a. After it has been restructured, the Transport and Harbours Department could remain as an operational entity under the National Port Authority (NPA). However, this may be a bit counter productive for it does not only deviate from recommendations made by previous consultants, for the ferry services to be self-financing, but it would make the NPA too cumbersome to manage.

    b. Another policy alternative is for the Government to maintain control of the regulatory, coordinating, and facilitating functions, plus the operational functions of the National Port Authority.

    c. The preferred option, as discussed below, is to privatise the ferry services and merge the other functions of the Transport and Harbours Department into the National Port Authority.

    2. Human Resources Development

    The establishment of a National Maritime Academy to train seafarers, i.e., both deck officers and engineers, would be a most useful initiative. However, for the success of this venture, there would be initial need for technical assistance, that may be sought through the International Maritime Organisation.

    3. Ferry Services

    Only two ferry services consistently show profits: the Rosignol-New Amsterdam and the Parika-Adventure. For the remainder, in particular for the Berbice River service and the North West service, the Government has provided a cross-subsidy funded out of the profits realised by the Harbours Branch of the T&HD.

    Ferry operations have the potential to be profitable. However, capital investment to improve its physical assets is badly needed. The Harbours Branch of the Department has always shown a profit.

    With the anticipated establishment of a National Sea Port Authority the ferry operations must be privatised. While some increases in rates may accompany privatisation, the quality and capacity of the service can be expected to improve. Ultimately, key ferry links will be replaced with bridges, starting with Rosignol - New Amsterdam. This policy on ferry services will enable profits deriving from the operations of the Harbours Branch to be invested in needed capital improvements.

    4. Deepwater Port

    At this juncture in time, three factors warrant a reconsideration and updating of the proposals mooted twenty years ago for a deepwater port:

    (1) The prospect of completing the road link to Lethem, which will promote increased trade with much of Guyana's hinterland, especially the Rupununi, and in addition will offer the possibility of a substantial flow of entrepot trade with Brazil's northern savannah region, provided that Guyana can develop the appropriate kinds of capacity for freight handling and transshipment.

    (2) The decision to create an export processing zone, the fiscal framework for which has been included in the Government's 1996 budget.

    (3) The rapid growth of the economy experienced since 1991, which has been concentrated in sectors that export bulk goods, such as rice, sugar and new kinds of wood products.

    These factors undoubtedly alter the previous calculus regarding the economic feasibility of a deepwater port. In the detailed planning for such a port, it is important to take a forward-looking view and account for potential new sources of international trade volume. Already, both the sugar and rice sector have stated on various occasions that they would benefit economically from the

    opportunity to export in larger ships, and that in some instances this could open new markets for them. (See Chapters 26 and 33 of this Strategy.)

    For these reasons, in the transport sector one of the fundamental thrusts of this National Development Strategy is to create greater deepwater port capacity. It will be a key to the continued growth of Guyana's economy. As in the case of the bridges, in defect of an adequate financing, the facility can be developed by concessioning its construction and operation. The facility will be designed to handle Panama vessels of up to 60,000 dwt and will be supplied with modern container facilities.

    Over the years, two alternative sites have been considered for a deepwater port: Lanaballi on the Essequibo River, and the Berbice River. Each site has advantages and disadvantages. Lanaballi offers land, easy access to the future export processing zones, and close links to the road to Lethem. On the other hand, the shifting sand bars downstream in the Essequibo would have to be dredged frequently. Equally, the Berbice site would necessitate dredging, albeit of a different nature, but it has the signal advantage of installed capacity of ships of up to 45,000 dwt, as a point of departure. A fresh evaluation of the two sites will be undertaken in 1996 with the aim of completing the planning and arrangements for financing promptly so that construction on the port can be initiated in 1997. If Berbice should be the chosen site, the plans will call for deepening access to the harbour and constructing the required additional off-loading facilities. In either case, the port will be closely linked to the new export processing zone.

    5. Other Policies

    A programme for continuous dredging of the Demerara Channel and other waterways that require it will be developed and its funding sources specified from among the users of these routes.

    [Back to Top]

    C. Air Transport

    International air transport obviously is vital for Guyana, and in addition air transport services are important to Guyana's hinterland for the following reasons:

    (1) Air transport is cost effective for low volumes of traffic.

    (2) The development of a wider road network in the hinterland will proceed over a long period of time.

    (3) Air transport supports a variety of activities and sectors, including agriculture, forestry, mining, tourism and social services.

    It can be expected, therefore, that air transport, both internal and external, will continue to play an important role in Guyana's economy.

    At present, air services are provided by Guyana Airways Corporation (scheduled and charter services) and private operators (charter only). Although GAC moves the greater percentage of the traffic, downtime for maintenance of the fleet results in frequent cancellations of the service. In the short run, the planned acquisition of new aircraft by GAC should make the service more reliable, but clearly management improvements are needed as well.

    In the longer run, as part of the modernisation of the sector, plans need to be developed for the participation of private capital and management in GAC. As of this year, it is the only remaining State-owned airline in the entire continent in the Western Hemisphere. (And, close to home, government shares in LIAT have been divested recently.) Throughout the world airlines are moving rapidly not only toward privatisation but also toward large improvements in operating efficiencies, which realistically can be achieved only through private administration and injections of private capital. In addition, because GAC receives several tax exemptions, it is not making the contributions to revenues for national development that would be expected of a corporation of its size.

    Under this Strategy, GAC's assets for domestic services will be divested to domestic investors, and the international assets will be transferred to the highest bidder, presumably a foreign investor. This policy has been pursued in many countries of the region in recent years.

    At the same time, within the framework of this National Development Strategy existing restrictions on private operators in Guyana will be relaxed. Principally this involves:

    (1) Eliminating all restrictions on general aviation, including the number of commercial seats that it may provide.

    (2) Transferring the management of Ogle to the association of private aircraft operators, which repeatedly has shown the interest in and capacity to undertake such a responsibility.

    Basic accompaniments to these measures include:

    (1) An establishment of an autonomous Air Transport Authority for the management of the international airport at Timehri and other facilities.

    (2) The establishment of air traffic centres at Lethem and Kamarang as soon as possible.

    (3) The adoption of a open skies policy with respect to international airlines serving Guyana, in order to provide passengers with the greatest range of choice and greatest frequency of flights.

    [Back to Top]

    VI. Recommended Legislative Changes

    [Back to Top]

    A. Road Transport

    The legal framework under the Road Administration Division operates under Chapter 51:01 of the Laws of Guyana. The penalties for offences pertaining to the damage or misuse of the infrastructure (roads, bridges, other structures) are ridiculously low and require updating. While putting in place routine maintenance for preserving the rehabilitated infrastructure is important, preventing wanton destruction to the structures is equally important. Prescribing appropriate penalties to offenders is therefore necessary.

    New legislation will be required to facilitate the concessioning of bridges and toll roads.

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    B. Maritime Transport

    The Transport and Harbours Department is established in Section 49:04 of the Laws of Guyana. The Act was patterned after the Merchant Shipping Act of 1984. There have been significant changes in international maritime legislation since then, so modifying the corresponding Guyanese legislation to conform with the new worldwide conditions is necessary. Such changes would undoubtedly determine the extent to which the ports and shipping industry could respond to the demands of the regional and international shipping communities.

    The institutional changes outlined in this Strategy, including the creation of an autonomous National Port Authority, will require new legislation.

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    C. Air Transport

    The Government should strive to implement the necessary legal framework, consistent with the general and specific objectives previously presented in this document. Air transport in Guyana is still being administered under the United Kingdom's Colonial Air Navigation Order (1961).

    In the institutional real, a Civil Aviation Bill would seek to regularise the situation by the creation of two authorities within the Ministry of Public Works, Communications, and Regional Development, as follows:

    1. The Civil Aviation Authority that will assume all the functions of the present Civil Aviation Department.

    2. The Air Transport Licensing Authority that will assume all the functions of the present Air Transport Advisory Board.

    3. An autonomous Airports Authority would be created, empowered to set landing fees and other tariffs at a level consistent with adequate maintenance of navigational aids and other airport facilities.

    Provision for these three authorities should be made in the new bill. In addition, legislation will be required to facilitate the divestiture of GAC in the ways described and transfer of Ogle Aerodrome's management to the Association of Private Aircraft Owners.

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    VII. Preliminary Investment Programme

    The following projects are identified for investment over a five-year period:

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    A. Roads

    1. Priority is given to the rehabilitation of the existing infrastructure.

    2. Extension of the existing network.

    3. New projects.

    The Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project, which is primarily for roads, is funded by IDA, IDB, and CDB and commenced in late 1993. The project includes maintenance of the West Demerara and Corentyne roads, the rehabilitation of the Essequibo road, the rehabilitation of Timehri to Rosignol road, new road construction on the railway embankment from Sheriff Street to Enmore, and the rehabilitation of some of Georgetown's streets.

    The two-year maintenance programme of the West Demerara and Corentyne roads has since been completed. The IRP will continue for another three years and at the end of this period all the main roads are expected to be fully rehabilitated.

    The road maintenance fund, a mechanism for financing the annual road maintenance programme is to be launched during 1996.

    The replacement of eight wooden bridges and reconstruction of the deteriorated sections of the Linden/Soesdyke highway are also included in the programme.

    Besides the medium-term project there are long-term projects that are part of the proposed infrastructure development programme to be funded by the World Bank. This proposal includes all weather roads from Patentia to Kamuni Creek and from Parika to Makouria, interurban connecting roads in Charity, Anna Regina, Supenaam, Bartica, and Parika. Other works to be considered in the long term include the completion of the Linden/Lethem road, the Crabwood Creek/Orealla road to provide access to 40,000 acres of fertile agricultural land, a highway to Timehri Airport from a point on the lower East Coast (possibly Ogle). Bridging the Berbice river and the relocation of the Demerara Harbour Bridge further up the river (possibly near Land of Canaan) are other proposed undertakings, and the initiation of the Berbice project probably will be accelerated, even though its cost is not included in Table 38-12, for lack of estimates as of this writing.

    In addition to these projects, there are several access roads earmarked for financing by SIMAP and the Futures Funds. Two hundred miles of feeder roads will be upgraded through funds from IDB.

    Private investment is expected for the completion of the road to Lethem and the bridges across the Berbice and Demerara Rivers.

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    B. Maritime Transport

    The rehabilitation and maintenance of the existing fleet and facilities will be given priority. Safety and security are also areas of concern to which attention would be given.

    The investment programme would include the construction of a new stelling at Supenaam to coincide with the rehabilitated road from Supenaam to Charity. Preliminary design of this stelling was done in 1989 by Rogan Associates for the EEC-funded Ferry Improvement Study. The rehabilitation of the Bartica and New Amsterdam stellings is also programmed. Acquisition of navigational aids and the removal of wrecks are also included. The annual docking of MVs Malali, Torani, and Makouria will continue. Among the vessels that should be acquired are a passenger ferry for Blairmont/New Amsterdam, a self-propelled barge-type ferry (vehicles and passengers) for Parika/Supenaam, two tug boats, and two pilot launches. These vessels can be supplied by the private sector upon privatisation of the ferry services.

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    C. Air Transport

    Safety and security would be given priority in the following long-term programme.

    - Upgrading the crash/fire rescue service.

    - Implementation of the NS/ATM system, inclusive of equipment modernisation in the air navigation system.

    - Timehri terminal building extension and related equipment.

    - Human resource development.

    - Installation of additional modern security equipment and improving security.

    - Upgrading Timehri movement area including apron expansion.

    - Construction of a cargo complex.

    - Implementation of the preliminary master plan for Timehri and Ogle airports prepared under UNDP/ICAO Project (1993).

    - Installation of air traffic centres at Lethem and Kamarang.

    Table 38-12

    Preliminary Investment Programme in G$M
    1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 TOTAL


    Essequibo Coast 850
    Timehri to Rosignol
    Lot 1 Timehri-Ruimveldt 150
    Lot 2 G/town-Mahaica 1,700
    Lot 3 Mahaica-Rosignol 550
    Georgetown roads 300
    Parika - Makouria 900
    Patentia - Kamuni 300
    Soesdyke - Linden 1,600
    Rehabilitation of bridges (study)
    (Timehri - Rosignol) 5
    Bridging Berbice River (study) 5
    Linden/Lethem 700
    Crabwood Creek - Orealla 1,400
    Highway to Timehri Airport 1,500
    Update transport plan (technical assistance) 7
    SUB-TOTAL 9,976
    Supenaam Stelling 75
    Bartica Stelling 30
    Navigational aids (removal of wrecks) 80
    Pilot launches 120
    Two tug boats 300
    SUB-TOTAL 605
    Upgrading crash/fire/rescue service 100
    CNS/ATM Navigational system 100
    Timehri Airport terminal building 400
    Human resource development 200
    Modern security 30
    Upgrading Timehri movement area & apron
    Cargo complex 150
    SUB-TOTAL 980
    GRAND TOTAL 11,561

  • 1. The Guyana Airways Corporation is administered by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism but regulated by the Civil Aviation Department.

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