Although Government recently announced plans to implement a system to collect tolls from vehicle owners to help fund maintenance of several roads in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) is still to be consulted on this proposal.GGDMA President Terrence AdamsPublic Infrastructure Minister David Patterson had made the announcement following a visit to the Region in mid-April. He said that the strategy would aid in the maintenance and sustainability of infrastructure.“Soon we will be finished upgrading the roads. I would hope that we can work along with the Region on this,” he said after inspecting the hinterland projects, the Department of Public Information (DPI) reported. Patterson visited the Region to assess the two main crossings which link both Mahdia and Bartica.During the visit, it was observed that work needed to be done on the Amaila Falls road which is heavily traversed, especially by trucks from the gold company. Patterson said the tolls collected would go directly to the Region for the proper maintenance and care of the roads.GGDMA President Terrence Adams told Guyana Times on Sunday that a committee set up to deal with issues pertaining to infrastructure at the organisation has not received any formal information about these plans. The last meeting that committee had with Government was close to two months ago.“Usually, they would come to us, but they haven’t. Most times, they don’t want to increase anything and we oppose it, so they would usually consult. Nobody hasn’t really mentioned anything to me, and I have my office in Bartica and they haven’t told me that I’ll have to pay an increase in toll,” Adams explained.Giving his personal take on the matter, the miner said he would support the tolls initiative once the authorities take responsibility for regular maintenance and upkeep. “For me, I had always wanted the GGMC (Guyana Geology and Mines Commission) to adopt that particular part of that road because that road miners are using it to go into the interior. I don’t have a problem…If you have to pay a small toll, but that is a personal opinion.”Asked whether the idea of having tolls for the area would be a problem for any of the road users, Adams said, “I don’t think people would mind, because it will be cheaper for them…because the cost they will have to pay to repair their vehicles that will help a lot. I don’t think people will want to oppose it.”Region Seven Chairman Gordon Bradford has thrown his support behind the idea, stating that the Regional Democratic Council would welcome the idea of tolls on the roads. He explained that in previous years the strategy was used in the Region and aided in the preservation of several roads leading to Mahdia.Bartica Mayor Gifford Marshall, who is also in support of the idea, said that the Ministry would have to be the implementing body. However, he noted that it was something that his municipality has discussed before. The Town Council will play a major part in crafting the new plan along with Government.But Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has already stated his objection to this plan, and noted that the productive sector was already under pressure from the harmful policies imposed by Government since it took office in May 2015. Ordinary Guyanese, he added, are also facing increasing hardship, with more taxes.“These things harm our people; it is as if specific groups of people are being targeted…as if the Government has no care for the struggles of our people and it harms us economically,” he said.Region Seven is home to hundreds of persons involved in mining, and the mining sector is already under strain from adverse polices implemented since May 2015.Only recently, Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan had approved the payment of 18 different categories of tolls to the Linden Town Council (LTC) for the use of its roads.In response to that, Jagdeo said people should not be surprised if traffic into the mining town decreased and the cost of transportation increased, along with the cost of living.In light of these added expenses to the general public, he noted that these outcomes were inevitable and would only result in the continued hardship of the ordinary man to sustain a livelihood.Jagdeo remarked that this was yet another of the many counterproductive policies of the Government which only resulted in additional suffering for the Guyanese public.