After 19 years of being defunct, the Transport Advisory Council has been resuscitated with new members to advise on the modernization of the riverain transportation services in Guyana.
The members were inducted today during a simple ceremony at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Kingston.
Minister within the Ministry, Annette Ferguson said among the changes she would like to see are the online purchasing of tickets for ferry services, the reduction in marine traveling time as well as improved safety regulations.
“Traveling from Parika to Bartica take in excess of hours, so I guess with this body, they would be able to advice me what are the better approaches in order to reduce time travel,” she noted.
Ferguson said despite the developments in air and land transport, a significant number of Guyanese still depend on riverain transport for economic, social and educational purposes.
“Given the geography and the population distribution across the country, riverain transport services will be needed for the foreseeing future however I believe that there is much improvement that is necessary and there is need to modernise the services to improve people’s travelling experience,” she stated.
In her challenge to the new Council, Ferguson said the body should look at the staffing and administration of the Transport and Harbour Department (TH&D), the operations and services offered, the enhancing of services offered o public and recommending policies and regulations to improve efficiency in the functioning of TH&D.
The Minister further explained that the Transport Advisory Council is provided for under Section Five of the Transport and Harbours Act.
“I firmly believe that rather than everything coming to the Ministers, the advisory council must be able to function independently, [and] provide me with the necessary direction of the T&HD. The T&HD really needs the assistance and, as the Minister, I cannot do it alone…so once you have the competent people on the Advisory Council, they will be in the position to give us the necessary guidance and direction so as to make informed policies to charter this particular organisation forward,” she stated.
The Chairman of the Council is Basil Blackman and the other members are Marclene Merchant, Ayesha Edwards, Leon Castello, Louise Williams, Sandra Jones and Saheed Sulaman.
The Council will serve for a period of two years.