MARAD compiling report on river deaths- Minister Ferguson
Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson updating the media today on developments at several agencies which fall under her purview, said in light of the recent river deaths, the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) is currently compiling a report in this regard and would make same available at an upcoming press conference.
Minister Ferguson told media operatives that steps are being taken to improve MARAD’s monitoring and patrol of the waterways. She said following investigations by MARAD, then the decision would be made whether to prosecute those persons found culpable of contributing to river deaths.
Ferguson informed that two vessels, MV Sabanto and MV Kanawan, are back in operation, servicing the Essequibo area. The MV Kimbia is still in dock and some $194M has been approved to have its engines rehabilitated and replaced in the Netherlands.
The minister advised that the vessel will be back in operation by the first quarter of 2017. In the interim, Lady Northcote will continue to ply the Region 1 route, while the MV Barima, which is also in dock, will be handed back to management by early October 2016. When it returns to operation, it will supplement the Lady Northcote.
Cabinet has also given it’s no objections to the allocation of $65M for the repair of the Transport and Harbour’s Department’s good wharves.
The sum of approximately $111M was approved in the 2016 budget for the Hinterland Electricity Company Inc (HECI) and, thus far, close to $50M has been expended for the provision of services in hinterland communities as well as the provision of support to utility companies.