…neighbouring Region Nine experiences fuel shortage
Fuel price in Mahdia may reduce by Thursday as some businessmen are now utilizing the Bartica to Mahdia route to transport the much needed commodity. However, food prices are increasing as protesters in Linden continue to prevent access to the interior mining district.
The protest in Linden began on July 18, last, against intended electricity hikes and now includes the killing of three men by ranks of the Guyana Police Force on the first day of protest. Protesters are determined to continue their struggle until their demands are met.
According to a wholesaler, a pontoon is hired at Parika Stelling from where the trucks are transported to Bartica and journey to Mahdia via road. The Bartica to Mahdia route, a distance of 112 miles, is less expensive than transporting fuel via air but the quantity remains limited.
He lamented that trucks out of Bartica could only transport a limited volume of fuel because of the deplorable condition of the trail.
Further, some of the locations that need fuel are off the Mahdia route.
Currently, a 45-gallon drum of diesel costs between $65,000 and $80,000. Those prices are expected to reduce but not significantly since the transportation cost remains high. However, a reduced cost will be welcomed by Mahdia residents, who have been without electricity for some days.
Prices for food items are soaring almost daily, though, as supplies are costly to transport by air. In addition, the power outage has caused meat and fish to spoil.
According to a resident, the situation in Mahdia is dire, especially for single parents. The woman emphasized that preparing a ‘pot’ for five costs $4,000. She added that a plate of food is being sold for $1,500 on Mahdia landing.
“Things in Mahdia really rough. Imagine a pound of beef is for $700; $800 per pound chicken, $800 per pound butter fish and even a pound ochro costs $400…It really hard for single mothers,” the woman said.
“The hardship in Region Eight goes beyond Mahdia,” Regional Chairman, Mark Crawford, said. He noted that residents in North Pakaraima are also affected since they too depend on the trail to transport their food items.
He explained that their cargo would reach Mahdia through the trail and transported to North Pakaraima via air. The Chairman noted that the Regional Administration is hoping that the situation in Linden would be resolved soon.
Some miners at the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association’s General Annual Meeting last Friday were hoping that the Association would have negotiated with protesters at Linden to allow cargo to enter the mining district, through Linden.
However, the Association’s President, Patrick Harding, declined to tread that path since he believes that that is the responsibility of ranks of the Guyana Police Force. There is mistrust between the police and protesters.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Region Nine that depends greatly on the Linden to Lethem road, Lethem is experiencing fuel shortage.
Kaieteur News understands that the Lethem Power Company only has a quantity of fuel to last the next four days.
The authorities in Lethem have since resorted to substitute measures to conserve the electricity. According to a source, Lethem and other communities that depend on the electrical company for power currently receive less than 17 hours of power per day.
The source said if the situation at Linden continues residents will receive few hours of electrical supply. Residents are hoping for an improvement at Linden so that fuel will be allowed entry across the Kara Kara Bridge.
However, if this change does not happen, an appeal is being made to the Prime Minister, who is responsible for energy, to grant them permission to allow the purchase of fuel from Brazil. Although, the purchase of fuel from Brazil will cost more, the power company will do so to provide the service, since the closing down of Electricity Corporation will also influence the potable water supply.
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