Meadow Bank Wharf lacks security, proper facilities – fishermen, vendors
Fishermen, vendors and other stakeholders voiced a number of concerns surrounding the conditions under which they ply their trade to Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha during his visit to the Meadow Bank Wharf, Georgetown.
Many of the concerns raised during the visit on Tuesday were related to security and environmental issues.
Vendors and fishermen highlighted that presently they have no access to a clean water supply at the Wharf.
“When I come to work here, is no water for me to do my work,” one vendor explained.
According to the Chairman of the Guyana Fisheries Limited, Mohammed Khan, this is as a result of the fact that the well that was previously utilised has now become privatised.
In addition, the fisherfolk noted that many of their problems exist due to the lack of proper management. They added that the absence of rules and regulations along with the lack of an enforcing body has contributed to many of the existing problems.
One vendor pleaded that “we need a co-op; we need a body to handle our affairs. We need a capable body to look into all of our issue”.
Many of the others present supported her plea and added that the lack of management also contributes to the depletion and rapid breakdown of the building and the wharf.
“Nobody pays anything, this is a free for all. The co-op is not functioning” one fisherman explained.
Another fisherman chimed in saying “This is the area where we mend our stuff, the roof is leaking. Is better we do it in the sun”.
Further, both the vendors and fishermen highlighted that the wharf is unsafe for business. They noted that they are lacking proper Police presence and surveillance.
“You got to be careful, people unknown to you coming and rob you from nowhere. We need a camera, that we can pick up something” a frustrated fisherman related.
Minister Mustapha, in response to the issues raised, posited that “we will try to restore this facility, I will see from the Ministry’s budget if we can have some funds to at least do some repairs this year and hopefully next year we can put in some request to do budgeting here so that we can do massive work and to rehabilitate this area”.
The Minister further added that he will consult with the Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal along with the Guyana Water Incorporated to ensure that they restore a water supply for the fisherfolk at the wharf.
In relation to the security issue, Minister Mustapha explained that “many persons complained about robberies and the security problem here. It seems that if we want to develop this area, we have to have proper security. They are also saying that when the Police come, they are not taking the kind of action they are supposed to. I plan to raise this with Minister Benn”.
Only on February 1, 2021, two women were robbed by armed bandits at the Wild Caught Fresh Fish Depot located at Meadow Bank Wharf, Greater Georgetown. The women were relieved of a large sum of cash and other valuables including mobile phones and jewellery. One of the suspects was reportedly armed with a handgun. No arrests were made.