Ministers engage Parika, Vreed-en-Hoop speedboat operators
Minister of Public Works Bishop Juan Edghill MP and Minister within the Ministry, Deodat Indar MP on Friday met with speedboat operators at the Parika and Vreed-En-Hoop Stellings.
The engagement was the second of its kind with stakeholders and sought to address issues faced by the operators.
Minister Edghill said the first engagement addressed COVID-19 measures in place to ensure the safety of operators and passengers. He thanked them for complying with those regulations.
“I believe the best place for me to start this morning, is by saying thanks to you for your understanding, thanks to you for your cooperation, thanks to you for your willingness to have adjusted to those measures and to ensure that we were in full compliance.”
Minister Edghill said the engagement was aimed at ensuring that stakeholders have access to him through face-to-face discussions. He added that the engagement would ensure that rules are set on the way forward as the operators continue to make a living.
“It is a little disappointing that people are really using the system to benefit themselves because sometimes it’s the same individual who already has a turn just using another name to get a third and a fourth boat into the system. While some people up until now have not been able to get one boat into the systems.
We must also be our brothers’ keeper; we can’t allow one family to dominate any route, we cannot allow one group of people to dominate any route, we must be able to have fairness and equal access as we go forward,” he urged the operators.
Minister Edghill said he could come up with his own rules and regulations for the sector, however, he felt it was important to sit with stakeholders to have frank discussions on establishing criteria.
Several boat owners and operators raised concerns about persons having multiple boats in the system.
The Minister said his ministry has been in consultation with the various associations to address this.
“Just before we came into Government certain players and individuals inserted as much as ten and twelve new people into turns based on politics. As a result of this the whole system went out of sync with what is order and reality, the last thing we want as a Government is to put systems in place that is benefiting some and disadvantaging others especially when the others are the majority.”
He said there should be clear rules for operating speed boats at the various stellings, pointing out that there should be an agreement between the speed boat associations and the Maritime Administration Department on proper operations.