Boat captains and fishermen operating at the Goed Fortuin, West Bank Demerara jetty are claiming millions in losses after a drug addict allegedly torched the structure around 01:30 hrs yesterday.
Yesterday boat captain, Eric Thakchand, of 123 Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara, said that around 01:30 hrs he was summoned by another captain who said that a security guard close by had indicated that the structure was ablaze.
He said that he arrived shortly after and observed that most of the structure was engulfed in flames.
He said that himself and several other captains tried to extinguish the flames but because the structures have been exposed to weather for a prolonged period, they quickly caught fire long before fire trucks arrived from Leonora, some 12 miles further down West Coast Demerara.
He said he was reliably informed that a drug addict living in a shack near to the jetty had set the structure ablaze. He added that the man was known to ingest drugs on a regular basis, and was also said to be mentally unsound.
Police at the La Grange Police Station, West Bank Demerara, yesterday said that the man was arrested and taken into custody, following allegations that he had torched the jetty.
Yesterday, Thakchand said that the blaze destroyed five storage bonds in which valuable equipment and fishing gear were stored. He said that seven large seines were also destroyed as was a 48-horse power Yamaha outboard motor boat engine.
The fire had also destroyed over a dozen fish storage containers that were in boats moored by the riverside. It singed the exterior of several vessels that were moored close by.
Boat captains yesterday lamented the fact that their operations have been brought to a standstill as a result of the fire.
They said that they cannot continue their fishing exploits until the jetty is repaired. Many of them claimed that fishing is their livelihood, noting that they will now be encountering grave difficulties in fending for their families.
Yesterday fishermen were observed trying to construct temporary structures with the hope of soon commencing their trade.
The fishermen are fervently hoping that the Government or donors will look into their plight and aid their cause.
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