Access to Baracara, nightmare due to thick vegetation
Access to the village of Baracara situated 52 miles up the Canje River, Berbice in now a nightmare due to heavy vegetation that blocked some sections of the waterway thus making it almost impossible for boats to traverse.
The journey which is expected to take just over three hours could end up taking two days. The thick vegetation was recently cleared as part of the maintenance but the grass has now formed mats covering several meters of the water top.
In addition, the cut grass can also damage seines and fishing pens.
Speed boats can get out in a day or two but larger boats will take weeks to travel the distance from Wel-te-Vreeden to the estuary of the Canje River and ultimately flows into the Berbice River.
Residents of Baracara are now claiming that the clearing of the waterway can take up to year end.
The Amerindian settlement depends primarily on New Amsterdam for trade. Most of the residents would make trips to New Amsterdam on a monthly basis to sell their produce and purchase much needed supplies.
For some, the round trip takes more than one week and for others, even longer.
Baracara is the only maroon village in Guyana. A group of escaped slaves settled in Baracara in the early 19th century, and occupied both the east and west banks of the Canje River.
Village Chairman, Eustace Joseph related that it is always difficult for residents in the community. He explained that the grass is normally cut twice a year-once in June and another, in December.
However, it is only during this period that the River becomes blocked.
“Presently now the water is low and the water is washing and falling, when it is the May/June season it is one way out. But right now, the grass goes and comes back and during this period it would spend a very long time in the River.”
He said it is very difficult for them when they have to travel in cases of emergencies. “But we have gotten accustomed to this because we live here for a number of years.”
Joseph explained that the heavy rainfall would cause the water level to raise and this ultimately assist to push the grass out of the River faster.
Meanwhile, fishermen who ply their trade between at the head of the Berbice River also experience difficulties but are waiting patiently at the end of the year when the grass is cleared.