Interventions being rolled out to ensure Kwakwani’s commercial activities are not disrupted

The government is collaborating with the Kwakwani Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) to implement a series of interventions to ensure the smooth functioning of the barge service, which is crucial to the community’s logging and mining sector.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, along with the Demerara Harbour Bridge’s (DHB) General Manager, Wayne Watson and Maritime Administration Department’s Director General, Stephen Thomas, visited the community to assess the situation.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill along with the DHB’s General Manager, Wayne Watson and MARAD’s Director General, Stephen Thomas assessing the situation

Contrary to rumours that the barge had sunk, it was found that this crucial piece of infrastructure required urgent repairs. The technical officers also determined upon inspection, that the barge has outlived its usefulness.

Minister Edghill also announced that a team from the DHB, led by Mr Watson and Mr Thomas, will be deployed to Kwakwani to undertake critical repairs, ensuring that it resumes operations by Monday.

Demerara Harbour Bridge’s (DHB) General Manager, Wayne Watson

The government will be providing fuel, at its own expense, to ensure that users are transported across the crossing from Wednesday until Friday.

After which, the barge will be docked on Saturday and Sunday to facilitate the much-needed repairs.

The Transport and Harbours Department will also deploy a new vessel, the MV Baramani, to provide additional relief for users.  This vessel is expected to arrive in Kwakwani within one week or more. 

Scores of loggers and residents tuned out in their numbers

“Once that is in place, the next intervention, whether we’re buying a new pontoon or we leaving the Baramani here as a gift to Kwakwani, that will have to be a decision that the cabinet will make,” the minister informed scores of loggers and residents who gathered.

These multifaceted measures will ensure that the commercial activities on the Berbice River crossing are not affected in any form.

The barge service has been a lifeline to many people who live and work in the western and eastern territories of Kwakwani.

Minister Edghill underscored that the government will not abandon the people of Kwakwani but will work hand in hand with the NDC to ensure their livelihoods are not disrupted.

“I can tell you right now, as a representative of the cabinet, that the government will not leave the people of Kwakwani stranded because of this barge…we’re going to work with you to ensure that we get that sorted out,” he underlined.

Meanwhile, Chairperson for the NDC, Michell Simeon, expressed relief and thanked the government for its prompt response, while truckers also voiced their appreciation for the interventions.