[www.inewsguyana.com] – Following a return visit to the island of Wakenaam by Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson, residents of Wakenaam will benefit from greater ferry services.
Minister Ferguson paid the visit on Friday December 18, 2015 a week after she would have made an initial trip to the island. During the first visit, Minister Ferguson had visited several sites on Wakenaam and interacted with both officials and residents. Residents were particularly vocal about what they deemed substandard service at the Wakenaam stelling.
Following these concerns, Minister Ferguson had indicated to the residents that she would return to the island shortly, along with officials under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure. She delivered on this promise on Friday and was accompanied by officials, including the General Manager of the Transport and Harbours Department (T&HD), Marcelene Merchant and T&HD Traffic Manager, Stephan Skekel. The meeting took place at the Wakenaam stelling.
During Friday’s meeting, residents once again emphasised that there was a need to put a proper system in place that would see them benefiting from better service. They highlighted issues and problems they would have experienced as recently as last week. Amongst the complaints were erratic services, long waits, and unprofessionalism on the part of T&HD staff.
“It’s not fair for us to sit on a ferry for hours, and this is happening very often,” a resident said. The man, a driver by profession, further said that he has eased up on working due to the ongoing situation. He emphasised that he has no other job. “Nobody wants to turn up and hear the time change or the boat ain’t coming,” another resident chimed in.
Others complained that the alternative of speedboats was too expensive, even for those with small families.
Several residents further provided suggestions on how the situation could be rectified. Residents indicated that if a fixed schedule is in place, regardless of the time, they would make themselves available.
These suggestions were noted by Minister Ferguson and the officials and, after brief discussions, a solution was put forward. Minister Ferguson indicated than an extra day would be added to the ferry services to Wakenaam.
Furthermore, it was agreed that the ferry would ply directly from Wakenaam to Parika rather than stopping at the island of Leguan. This, it was agreed, would save much time for the residents of Wakenaam.
Furthermore, Minister Ferguson indicated that T&HD General Manager, Ms. Merchant, would speak with technical persons to determine ways to cut down on travel time. She said too that the professionalism of T&HD employees would come under scrutiny.
“If employees of T&HD cannot adhere to what they are supposed to do, then somebody will have to feel the brunt of it,” Minister Ferguson emphasised. She added that those who do poor jobs will be disciplined.