Essequibo truck drivers stranded at Parika since Wednesday
Truck drivers are reporting a disruption in their service due to the new schedule implemented by the Transport and Harbours Department for the Parika – Supenaam Ferry Service.
Some 30 truckers have been stuck in Parika since Wednesday. Prior to COVID-19 two ferry boats would leave Parika and Supenaam at 05:00hrs, 12:00hrs and 16:00hrs every day. Now, in an effort the curb the spread of the deadly disease, only one ferry boat operates; it leaves Supenaam at 07:00hrs for Parika and returns at 14:00hrs Monday to Friday.
According to one of the stranded truck drivers, 30-year-old Mohamed Sheriff, this new schedule is proving difficult for them.
Sheriff, of Anna Regina on the Essequibo Coast, transports provisions and coconuts from Essequibo to Georgetown and takes back medical supplies for hospitals and clinics on the Essequibo Coast.
“I came over since Wednesday; due to the timing of the boat it does take two days to finish with our work.
“By the time we reach Georgetown, the markets does be closed so we cannot sell our produce…we does end up having to [wait] till the next day,” Sheriff explained.
Sheriff further explained that they have been unable to return home because when they return to Parika, there is a long line of vehicles already in place to board the ferry.
As such they must wait until the boat returns on Monday. He also explained that there is no screening for COVID-19 happening at the stellings, but assured they are taking the necessary precautions.
“They promised us that from Monday to Friday we the truckers will transport our essential supplies, produce and carry back medical supplies to Essequibo; they said they will ensure we are catered for,” Sheriff said.
While some of the truck drivers have relatives they can stay by, they are fearful of leaving their trucks and goods alone on the road.
“Presently at Parika we got about 30 trucks, some in the parking lot, some on the road corner, so day and night we here having nothing to do; in the night we have nowhere to eat or shower properly.
“We on the road corner park up and the police chasing us, and if you only sleep away the junkies will come and loose out your batteries and carry away your produce,” Sheriff said.
He told the News Room he contacted the Transport and Harbours Department and was told there was nothing that can be done.
Sheriff is calling for a better schedule for truck drivers transporting goods and other essential products.
“I have my family; today is Mother’s Day and I cannot be at home,” Sheriff said.