T&HD Advisory Council resuscitated after 19 years

DPI, GUYANA, Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Residents utilising riverine services can expect improved service as the Transport and Harbours Department gets new advisory council after 19 years. The new council was inducted today at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure’s boardroom.

The new council is a fulfillment of a promise made by Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson during her 2017 budget debate.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Hon. Annette Ferguson, with some of the newly inducted members of the Transport and Harbours Advisory Council. Left to right: Ms. Sandra Jones; Ms. Marclene Merchant.

The Advisory Council which is established in accordance with Section Five of the Transport & Harbours Act (Chapter 49:04) is necessary to further enhance the services provided by T&HD.

Minister Ferguson, who inducted the Council, said the board will provide the Ministry with the necessary guidance to make informed decisions to charter the way forward for the department.

The Minister said that the developments in the riverine transport should be apace with those on the roads and in the air, especially since a significant number of Guyanese still depend on riverine transport for economic social and educational purposes.

“Given the geography and population distribution, riverine transport will be needed for the future… what I would like to see is, us moving away from the purchasing of tickets at the stellings…and do it online, technology is advancing…The other thing I would like to see is the reduction of travel time, travelling from Parika to Bartica take in excess of hours so with this new council, I hope they can work on that,” Minister Ferguson explained.

She challenged the new council to work on improving the staffing and administration of the T&HD, the operations and services offered, and to recommend policies and regulations to improve the department’s efficiency.

General Manager, T&HD, Marcelene Merchant is confident that the new council will address the many challenges of the department. Some of these challenges include “staff shortage, maintenance of vessels and stellings and financial challenges. So, with the board we’ll be able to sit together and see how best we can improve on those challenges,” Merchant said.

The new advisory council is comprised of Basil Blackman as Chairman, Marcelene Merchant as Deputy Chairman and Ayesha Edwards, Leon Castello, Louise Williams, Sandra Jones and Saheed Sulaman as members.

Blackman said he is grateful for this opportunity to serve in this capacity and will do his best to carry out the mandate set out before him to ensure that there is ample efficiency in the newly resuscitated advisory body.

Blackman has a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in Management and Accounts from Baruch College in the US. He served four years as Fleet Manager at Guyana Fisheries and ten years as Marine Superintendent at Guyana National Shipping Corporation.


By: Ranetta La Fleur