Jul 13, 2016 News
Passengers of the Transport and Harbours Department (T&HD) Ferry Service, particularly those travelling between Parika and Supenaam, are once again raising concerns over the management of the boarding system at the Parika Stelling.
The passengers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed the belief that the system is being misused for financial gain, despite efforts by the T&HD to curb such occurrences.
Commuters have noted the adverse effects the system has had particularly on the business community in the Essequibo region.
“If yuh have stocks to carry on over (the river), plenty time yuh does got to pay money for yuh truck to pass…and who pay more get in front,” one driver noted.
Others said that vehicles would line up for hours at a time and still be denied access to board the vessel.
In a letter to the editor last week, one commuter further highlighted alleged incidents of bullying and bribery taking place at the Parika Ferry Stelling.
WAITING FOR 15 HOURS
According to the passenger, travelling between Supenaam and Parika with a vehicle via the ferry service is one of the most excruciatingly painful situations one can face.
“It is mentally and physically exhausting.”
The frustrated commuter, a driver, had arrived at the Parika wharf at 10:45 pm on Thursday, June 30 to ensure a space on board the boat that was scheduled to leave at 8:00 am on Friday, July 1.
However, the driver said that at end of the exercise, he had been waiting a total 15 hours before, he could board a vessel.
“Imagine sitting in your car all the time in a line only to be told at 5:00 am that you cannot get on the boat, as there were ‘other’ vehicles that needed to be loaded.
“When I questioned the personnel as to what exactly are these ‘other’ vehicles and what gives these persons preference over other people who have been waiting for hours, I was greeted with a face which I do not wish to describe. A few minutes later, myself along with other drivers who have been waiting for hours could vividly see drivers who had just arrived ‘pass a lil something’ and were allowed to board the boat.”
“I write not only to vent my anger, but also with a hope that someone who could better this situation would see this and do something. This needs to stop and we need a regularized and fair system to be put in place so that travelers could be eased of the nightmare of travelling with a vehicle between Parika and Supenaam. I have only described one instance of this nightmare; I have been in this situation many other times.”
When contacted yesterday, an official of T&HD noted that the department has not received any such complaints.
The official explained that the Department had taken steps earlier this year, in an effort to curb the confusion and congestion at the Ferry Stelling.
In January, T&HD had published an advisory which served as a reminder to the general public that priority passes will only be offered to persons who are approved by the Ministry. These would include government vehicles on official duty, following requests from the respective agencies; dignitaries, including those from the diplomatic community, senior government officials, ministers, magistrates, vehicles transporting persons in need of medical attention and vehicles transporting perishables weighing at least a ton.
“There have been no reports to the Head office so far. The passes are issued at the Head Office of the Department, which has been working to ensure the rules are enforced…”
The official said however, that department will be investigating any report of underhandedness brought to their attention.
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