MARAD opens safety centre in Charity
GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, March 23, 2017
The Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) yesterday officially opened its Maritime Safety Centre at Charity, Essequibo, to ensure the safety of residents on the waterways.The establishment of the office is a part of the department’s agenda, to provide registration and licencing of ships, together with training, examination and certification of local seafarers, marine pollution prevention and wreck salvage.
Director of Ports and Harbours (DPH) Louise Williams said that the establishment of the Maritime Safety Centre in Charity promotes a holistic approach to safety since it serves to augment MARAD’s effort to effectively regulate the country’s waterways.
“While it is essential for us to adopt a comprehensive approach of achieving our (MARAD) goals of having individuals and vessels compliant, we wish that persons would understand the importance of complying with stipulated regulations and adhere to same,” Williams explained.
Williams highlighted that the establishment of the safety centre will also provide an opportunity for boat operators and owners to access services which are necessary for becoming compliant with national regulations since it is closer to their home and will save them time and money. This will allow the MARAD administration to advance its maritime safety role as the regulatory agency to facilitate compliance.
MARAD has embarked on numerous initiatives which include the distribution of life jackets in various riverain areas, and collaboration with the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard and Guyana Police Force (GPF) on sensitisation campaigns.
Williams pointed out that the agency will be collaborating with the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’
Affairs to provide training for boat operators along with bowmen and women.
Meanwhile, Safety Director of MARAD John Flores said that the event symbolised a significant step in the department’s history as they continue to develop as an organisation whilst establishing an office at the busiest river in Guyana.
The MARAD director highlighted that over the years, the Pomeroon River has recorded numerous accidents which caused damage to boats and even resulted in deaths. He is hopeful that the establishment of the Charity safety centre will help to curb those accidents. He noted that the support given by President David Granger has allowed the agency to place necessary measures to minimise accidents on the waterways.
“For me as the Director of Maritime safety in Guyana, Pomeroon residents and the staff at MARAD need to work as a team in educating the river users in its safe use,” Flores said.
The MARAD director stressed that the river users need to understand that the world has modernised and there are several categories of size, power and ages of people who traverse the river. “These developments have caused us to craft guidelines to better the safety and to cater for these changes which we call regulations, but in my mind all categories of users need to be educated, so we can have many regulations and enforcement operations,” Flores explained.
The MARAD team hopes that the Charity residents embrace the changes being implemented for their safety.
Meanwhile, Region Two Chairman Devanand Ramdatt expressed his gratitude towards the MARAD team for officially commissioning the safety office. The Regional Chairman pointed out that he was pleasantly surprised by the first impression created by the staff attached to the safety office during a visit there earlier in the week. He expressed hope that the public’s perception of public servants would change because, “as public servants, we do not make ourselves accessible nor are we patient or warm enough in dealing with members of the public.”
Additionally, Ramdatt highlighted that the region recently held a meeting with the residents and farmers of the lower-upper Pomeroon and it was brought to their attention that the disposal of coconut husk has become an issue in terms of safety as well as development within the coconut industry.
The Regional Chairman noted that it would be, “also timely that we, at the regional government and national government will listen to their concerns as we aim at a comprehensive way in developing our region and ultimately our country.”
By: Neola Damon
Tags: [Maritime Administration Department (MARAD), Region Two Regional Chairman Devanand Ramdatt, Director of Ports and Harbours (DPH) Louise Williams, Director of MARAD John Flores]