Opposition demands that Gov’t facilitate speedy return of Berbice River Ferry Service

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By Kurt Campbell

AFC MP, Trevor Williams.
AFC MP, Trevor Williams.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Government has been called upon to ensure the speedy reintroduction of the Berbice River Ferry Service from New Amsterdam to Kwakwani through a motion in the National Assembly brought by Alliance For Change (AFC) Member of Parliament, Trevor Williams.

The motion, which was supported by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) calls on the House to place pressure on the Government to restore this service which will revive the communities and give hope and stability to the many Guyanese who wish to venture into agricultural entrepreneurship.

According to Williams, the service had previously provided critical and affordable transportation to hundreds of Guyanese families and their goods to and from the Berbice Coast.

He accused the Government of removing the service unilaterally and without explanation, an accusation which has since been debunked by the administration.

Williams argued that persons were forced to alter their lives severely to the extent of having to relocate and abandon their primary economic activity. He is of the view that though absent, the ferry service remains a critical component to the development of the Berbice riverain communities.

Meanwhile, Public Works Minister Robeson Benn while contributing to the debate on the motion reminded of promises by the administration to restore a viable ferry service.

He said the Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has approach the Government of India for new ferry vessel for North West District and is hopeful that by the end of 2014 this can be delivered.

He reminded that the MV Kimbia, which currently plies this route, was specifically designed for Berbice River and said it will be returned when the ferry from India is received.

“The kimbia was not removed because there was production, it was removed because economic efforts failed and went down gradually which led to people moving out from the communities” Benn added. 

He pointed out that in the absence of the service the administration has been able to restore over land transport as an alternative while at the same time debunking the unilateral removal by the Government.

Meanwhile, A Partnership for National Unity Member of Parliament Joseph Harmon said that while there may not be much economic activity in the communities, the onus and responsibility is still on the Government to provide the service, despite private contractions with exorbitant costs.

He accused the Administration of making empty promises in the past and called for action now.

At the end of debates the motion was put to a vote and was passed.

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