Residents of the communities along the Canje River are calling on Government to provide a boat service following a recent incident where a boat capsized with two children on board.
The mishap occurred at Potoko, some 20 miles up the Canje River. Based on reports, the boat reportedly came into contact with a piece of wood and quickly began to take in water.
The captain of the boat, Winston Thomas, explained that after he heard the sound and felt the impact, he went to the bow of the boat to investigate and saw the water pouring in. At the time of the incident, it was raining heavily and two children, ages two and three, were on board.
Within minutes, the boat began to sink causing panic among the people on board.
“Six people were in the boat when it went down but then we had to go back to get the children because when I reach out of the boat, a woman scream for the children and is then I realise that they missing… I went back in the sunken boat and start to feel for them… first I find the small one by the foot and bring it out with the assistance of my son,” he explained. Moments after, the elder child was located and had to be resuscitated since he was in a semi-unconscious state.
Thomas further explained that two boats were together, hence the rescue mission was effective. The boat and cargo that sunk was estimated at $1 million.
The man stated that the occupants of the boat were on their way to Ikuruwa located 70 miles up the Canje River on Old Year’s Day. However, those who normally travel to Horstenburg which is 90 miles up the river are calling on Government to act immediately.
In 1995, The Quamina ceased to operate, leaving residents living in those areas without a reliable boat service.
Meanwhile, the Canje Community Development Council is calling for the operations in the river to be more regularised. Its President, Winston Felix, says there is need for boats operating on the Canje River to be registered and more regulations to be enforced including the training of boat operators.
Felix is also calling for their services to be regulated with the necessary protective gears such as life jackets, horns, lights and communications sets. (Guyana Times)