By Kiana Wilburg
The “M.L Troy W” Twin Screw Passenger Cargo Vessel was commissioned and handed over yesterday to the Guyana Prison Service at the Port Facility Wharf of the Guyana National Industrial Company Incorporated (GNIC).
The event attracted Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan; Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson; and Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels.
GNIC’s Shipyard Manager, Jagdesh Ramjag, was elated to be a part of the ceremony as well as present an overview of the project.
Ramjag said that almost two years ago, the Guyana Prison Service approached GNIC to design and construct a passenger cargo vessel to transport goods and passengers between Parika and Mazaruni. He said that the laying of keel began on May 30, 2017 and the vessel was completed in November.
The Shipyard Manager said that this twin-screw steel passenger cargo launch is 70ft in length and 21ft in width. It has a cargo carrying capacity of 60 tons and seating for 80 persons.
It is powered by two Perkins M250 diesel engines with the combined horse power of 500 that reaches a speed of 12 knots under normal condition.
Ramjag said that among the many features are safety and navigation apparatus of international standard, lifesaving equipment for everyone on board, a two-ton cargo handling crane, automatic bilge ballasting system and of course, fire fighting mechanisms.
He said that the only challenge during construction was the untimely arrival of items from overseas due to the hurricane season earlier this year.
Ramjag said, “It would be remiss of me if I do not take this opportunity to humbly request the Prison Service to consider our recommendation on the maintenance of this vessel as part of their annual commitment in order to ensure the vessel continues to operate in the manner it was intended. I am very pleased to state that there have been positive news on the other vessel which will soon be dry-docked to also ensure its continuous availability for the work it was intended”
He added, “I must commend my team of consultants Mr. Ronald Bourne and Mr. Ovid London for the guidance and technical expertise, CEO Mr. Clinton Williams and my fellow hardworking colleagues who put everything together to realize this project.”
NAMING THE VESSEL
Yesterday’s event was a particularly emotional one for the Director of Prisons. He shared with the audience that GNIC and the Guyana Prison Service have a long relationship.
Samuels said that in 2001, GNIC had built the “Godfrey J” launch to facilitate the transfer of prisoners from Parika to Mazaruni. But as the years went on, he said that there emerged the need for a modern vessel.
The Director of Prisons said that when the new vessel was completed, he was tasked with selecting a name for it. He said that a number of persons died in the line of duty but it was not a difficult decision for him to select the name Troy Williams.
Samuels shared that he met Williams in 2001 when he was transferred from the New Amsterdam Prison to the Mazaruni Prison as an Assistant Prison Officer.
Samuels said, “Troy was someone who was full of potential. He lived a simple and humble life. But this guy who was set to be my ‘squaddy’ on the Standard Officer’s Course did not make it…”
“Williams came to me one night indicating that he wanted to work the night of February 23, 2002 and that resulted in us switching duties. So his shift at the hospital became mine. I agreed to the exchange and went to Georgetown Hospital to assume duties for the night.”
He added, “The next day, I went to lodge my radio set…then suddenly, I got a call; there was screaming in the background. A friend then indicated to me that Williams was killed.”
Samuels said that while his “best friend” is no more, he lived a life of respectability and always insisted on the importance of family. He had no doubt that naming the vessel after his departed colleague was the right choice.
SUPPORT FOR LOCALS
Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan, said that he agreed with the vessel being named after Williams, who he described as a national hero. In fact, he said that it is part of the Government’s policy to institutionalize the nation’s heroes.
The politician also said that it is the Government’s policy to support the development of local companies; hence GNIC was granted the job of constructing the launch.
Ramjattan added, “We went with GNIC because it has high quality ratings.”
The Public Security Minister also noted that the new and improved vessel is in with the modernization of the prison service and in keeping with improving the service’s water and land transportation.
Also speaking at the event was GNIC Benefits Officer, Hazel Moore. The official said that some years ago, GNEC, the predecessor company constructed the “ML Godfrey J” which is currently being utilized by the Guyana Prison Service Authority. Today, GNIC has been able to build another Launch called the “ML Troy W”.
Moore said, too, that GNIC has an established record of producing world class vessels, barges, pontoons and silos.
“In a nutshell, GNIC as an indigenous company is a multifaceted entity that is involved in Wharfage, Storage, Haulage and Engineering. So we at GNIC are following the very lofty ideals and visions of this great nation’s founding fathers – former and late Presidents, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham and Dr. Cheddi Jagan.”
“For it was their vision that for Guyana to be truly independent, we must produce all that we need, and want at home simply because economic dependency will eventually erode our political independence.”
Moore added that the very presence of Minister Ramjattan at the event despite his busy schedule is not only a reflection of those ideals of the founding fathers, but a testament of the confidence reposed in GNIC. She also stated that it speaks of the importance attached to Government’s commitment to National Security of which this vessel “M.L. Troy W” will play a vital role.
At the end of the programme, guests were treated to a ceremonial trip aboard the new vessel on the Demerara River.
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