New operating hours for Essequibo River water taxis

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The Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) has announced that the operation time for water taxis operating from Parika, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) to Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni); Parika to Leguan and Parika to Wakenaam and Supenaam, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), from today will be from 05:30h to 17:30h

Water taxis that ferry passengers on the Demerara River between Vreed-en-Hoop and Georgetown will be permitted to operate from 06:00h to 20:00h, MARAD said.

It warned that failure by operators to comply with the operation times will result in immediate revocation of their operating licence.

When contacted on Tuesday, Director General of MARAD, Stephen Thomas stated that water taxis from Parika to Bartica, Parika to Leguan and Parika to Wakenaam-Supenaam are strictly allowed to operate during daylight. Further, he explained that during this ending period of the year it tends to get darker faster and as such these changes were made. He noted that these changes are made every year.

In August, MARAD had advised that unvaccinated speedboat operators may lose their licences or have it suspended if they are caught transporting passengers.

In a notice to all water taxi (speedboat) operators, MARAD said that effective August 1, 2021, all captains, bowmen and monitors are required to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

“Operators are also required to have their vaccination cards along with official identification in their possession, and produce same when requested to do so by a Police Officer, MARAD officer, or any person authorised by the Ministry of Health,” the notice said.

It added that in keeping with paragraph 15 of the COVID-19 Emergency Measures (No 20), “no unvaccinated person shall be permitted to operate within the speedboat service, in any part of Guyana.” Except where otherwise provided, MARAD also reminded operators that face masks must be worn by all operators, and passengers.