Thursday, October 17, 2019 – Three Speedboat Operators met with Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Hon. Jaipaul Sharma to seek permission to be approved to work the Parika – Supenaam and Parika – turn route system.
Mr. Roger Anderson a captain and speedboat operator for the past twelve (12) years; Mr. Curtley Charles a captain and speedboat operator for the past thirteen years, who has stepped out in the business after his father - who worked as a bow man for over 20 years; and Mr. Mark Smith who is also a boat captain for over three years now.
During the discussions Minister Sharma sought to iron out the issues raised by the Operators. Among the issues raised were;
1. To have a response from the respective Boat Associations on their application to be included in the Turn System. The Operators indicated that they had written the Association almost four (4) year ago and they have not received a response to date.
2. To have the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) take up the responsibility of approving boat owners to be a part of the Turn System.
3. To have MARAD representative(s) present on the stellings on a daily basis to observe the operations of the Boat Associations procedures.
4. Members of the Association with multiple boats are given priority in the turn system basically taking advantage of the system, therefore, it leaves little or no opportunity for nonmembers to get a turn to be given a space on the stelling. According to the gentlemen, this is unfair and it interferes with their livelihood on a day-to-day basis.
Minister Sharma said, “MARAD will be asked to conduct an assessment on the availability of space in the boat system to determine whether or not more boats can be added to the system.
Boat Operators loss income because of non-inclusiveness in the Turn System
As the Operators shared their plights with Minister, it was stated by the Operators that they all have loans (mortgages) to facilitate the construction of their own boats and it is therefore imperative that they be included in the system. According to the Operators, if they do not get a special to work, they are still required to pay mooring fee which is five thousand dollars a week, a watchman fee which amounts to seven thousand dollars and a cleaning fee for the boat which amounts to five thousand. Hence, they are losing financing on a daily basis.
According to MARAD’s General Manager, Ms. Claudette Rogers; “it is important that the operators receive a “no objections” letter from the Association, before MARAD can give the operators the approval to be included in the system.”
Ms. Krest Cummings
Senior Public Relations Officer
Ministry of Public Infrastructure
Wight's Lane, Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana
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