Speedboat strike: Coast guard boats will continue to operate, more to be deployed
Coast Guard boats will continue to transport passengers across the Demerara River between Stabroek and Vreed-en-Hoop as the speedboat operators continue their strike for a fare increase.
The Transport and Harbour Department and the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) are also lending support.
Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn, who is overseeing and assessing the situation, told reporters that more boats will be deployed as the government responds to the disruption in the service.
“We will have to find others in the meantime to come into the service and we will have to find some position otherwise in respect of the action the water taxi operators have taken,” Minister Benn stated.
Minister Benn further expressed his dissatisfaction with the abrupt disruption of service.
“I know that there were some exchanges with relation to the fare to cross but I am surprised that there was no notice in respect of the matter and there is a complete cessation by these operators,” Minister Benn said.
He also said there was no opportunity to allow for consultations with the operators.
The Coast Guard vessels can only accommodate between six to 10 persons.
The strike early on Friday resulted in a huge build-up of traffic on the western end of the Demerara Harbour Bridge.
Just two days ago, the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) issued a notice that there is no increase in the fare for Stabroek to Vreed-en-Hoop route.
MARAD issued the notice after receiving reports that some operators are requesting more than the approved fare of $100 for this service.
The notice further warned boat operators who engage in demanding increased fares will face disciplinary action.
Passengers were also encouraged to report any boat operator who charges an increase.