“Total disregard” – Reg 2 Chair on speedboat operators overcharging passengers

A significant number of speedboat operators plying the Parika-Supenaam route continue to overcharge passengers, even though the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) has defined the pricing structure.
As a result, the Regional Administration of Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) is re-engaging central government, particularly the Public Works Ministry, to ensure there is compliance as well as penalties for defiance.
This is according to Regional Chairperson Vilma De Silva, who told this publication that regional officials met on Tuesday to discuss the issue of continued exploitation of citizens by the speedboat operators.

Supenaam stelling, Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam)

“I’m very much dissatisfied, the reason being is because senior ministers were on the ground and said to them that they cannot increase without the approval of government. Because the government has reduced all the taxes on fuel, to relieve passengers of high cost of travelling with the speedboat,” the regional chairperson informed this publication.
It was only in April this year that Public Works Minister, Juan Edghill led a team to meet with speedboat operators plying various routes, including the Parika-Supenaam route.
Edghill had made it clear that the authorised fare structure provides for travel from Bartica to Parika or vice versa to be $2500 while from Parika to Supenaam and vice versa is $1300.
However, operators plying the Parika-Supenaam route are insisting passengers pay $1500.
“They showed a total disregard to the minister’s intervention and I’m not satisfied with that, so I said I will engage our minister to look into it, because apart from charging the extra $200, they also charge the passengers if they have an additional bag, they would also charge for that bag. I was seated in a speedboat and saw the operator charged a passenger $1500 for a carry-on hand luggage,” the regional chairperson expressed.
She also indicated that many operators would overload their boat, posing a safety threat to the travelling public.
“Their service are very poor, untidy jackets, leaking boat, broken down engines, leaving passengers on many occasions in the middle of the river, even transferred from one boat to another, after waiting for hours,” De Silva added.
“If owners and operators don’t want to comply, then they will not be allowed to operate, because they are putting lives at risk…either they comply or quit the service. Operators were bold to me to say that ‘this boat is not owned by Edghill or Indar’…but I want them to know that this service belongs to the government.”
Meanwhile, during April’s meeting with speedboat operators, it had been announced that impromptu inspections will be conducted on all boats to ensure they are safe and river-worthy.
Operators who fail to comply with inspections or lack up-to-date certification will be prohibited from operating until they rectify their status.
Additionally, operators were instructed to revive their association to ensure compliance and order within the industry.
Another key measure being implemented is the random testing of boat operators for alcohol and drug consumption, with licenses to be terminated for those who test positive.