Residents are now burdened with higher transportation costs in light of the deplorable conditions of two main access roads in Region One (Barima Waini).
News Room understands that bus operators were forced to raise the fare by more than 300% given the additional expenses they are incurring as a result of the dire state of the Waniana and Wauna Swamp Roads which lead to the major commercial district of Mabaruma.
Regional Chairman Brentnol Ashley told the News Room during a telephone interview that the price from Wauna to Mabaruma was $300 but now operators are charging around $700 – $1000. Additionally, he said operators are demanding additional fees from passengers per bag and 5-gallon bottles.
“This is placing a heavy constraint on the residents of these communities… Many are farmers who rely on the market on Tuesdays and Saturdays to sell their products which are often not fully sold and so they incur more expenses that they are not equipped financially to pay,” Ashley stated.
The Regional Democratic Council (RDC) has since written to the Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan requesting assistance in fixing the roads and in the meantime heavy duty trucks are banned from traversing the trails.
But the Regional Chairman is hopefully that central government swiftly provides relief as the region depends on sand resources from Wauna for construction works.
“Wauna has sand resource used for construction, so sooner or later we will have to reconsider the position of banning the trucks,” he explained.
The roads link the communities of Yarakita, Kamwatta, Whitewater, Wauna, Tobago, and Waniana.
In its letter to the Minister, the RDC said it does not have the resources or capacity to cause any major intervention to alleviate the current challenges.