Sep 03, 2010 News
A number of Essequibo residents are calling for protective covers on speedboats operating between Parika/Supenaam, similar to the ones on vessels working the Georgetown/Vreed-en-Hoop route.
Calling themselves the “Concerned Citizens of the Essequibo Coast”, the 150-odd residents said that they have been clamouring for some time now for the boats to be outfitted with the covers which not only offer protection against the weather, but are much more comfortable.
Already, following measures announced by the Ministry of Public Works, the passenger boats operating between Georgetown/Vreed-en-Hoop have covers, side flaps to prevent spray and a windscreen.
However, the Parika/Supenaam boats had been resisting the move to put the covers on.
According to officials of the Public Works Ministry, which is charged with monitoring safety on the country’s waterways, there have been numerous complaints from travellers using the speedboats on the Parika/Supenaam route, but although there have been meetings, there is a seeming reluctance to acquiesce.
“Bartica boats already have the sheds…Vreed-en-Hoop boats already have them…We have even been able to persuade the boats to put in cushion seats to increase passengers’ comfort. Some of these people even went and complained to their political friends when we requested that they comply,” said one senior official.
He noted that the passengers end up being the ones who suffer, not only from the bumpy rides but from sprays from the waves when the waters are rough.
With one covered speedboat in operation between Parika and Supenaam, authorities had at one time suggested that it should be given loading preference because of its protection, but this was resisted by the operators who have a turn-system.
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