‘We are being victimised’ – Parika speedboat operators

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…calling for a new representative

Boat operators plying the Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam)-Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) route in the Essequibo River say they are being victimised by the maritime officials placed at the Parika wharf.

According to the affected operators, who requested anonymity, they are losing thousands of dollars owing to the alleged victimisation and regular suspension of their operations.

During an interview, the operators explained that only a select few were being targeted, which they deemed “unfair”.

One operator said that he was suspended for two weeks, because he had two extra passengers. When asked why he had extra passengers, the operator said that he filled his boat at Supenaam, but as he was venturing into the river, he noticed a stranded boat at Hog Island with two females, and he rendered assistance.

He further explained that, as a boat captain, it would have been irresponsible for him to leave the women in the middle of the river in the rain. According to the man, one of the rescued passengers was also ill.

The captain said that as soon as he reached Parika, the maritime official grounded him without giving him a chance to explain.

“I have witnessed with my own eyes persons fetching overload and nothing was done… how long we are going to suffer like this? How long? We have families to maintain; this is really bad, this victimisation must stop,” the father of five stated.

The operators are also claiming that the present maritime official was very rude and unprofessional. They are, therefore, calling on the Public Infrastructure Ministry to launch an investigation into the matter.

They explained that reports were also made to the Supenaam Parika Speedboat Association, but said nothing has been done to address the matter. Letters were also reportedly written to the Ministry about the issues.

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