Persons in authority will have to speak to T&HD about speeding ships in the Demerara River before it is too late
Your report, ‘Demerara River residents risk lives to keep ships at bay’ on May 25, followed by your editorial ‘Stand-off in the Demarara’ on May 28, about the excessive speed of ships which also sail too close to the river banks en route to the Bosai Plant were commended by residents. The sight of ships sailing in and out of the narrow Demerara has for so long been a wonderful thing to behold, and equally a scary experience for many when caught in a boat that won’t start and is drifting into the path of an approaching ship There is an age-old embedded fear – quite justified too – of residents, mainly women, not boarding a boat when a ship is in sight, no matter how far away.
For some strange reason the engine never starts and the vessel just drifts, creating a dreadful scare, to the point where passengers would become hysterical and have to be restrained – no playing – until another boat comes to the rescue or the ship passes. When that happens, the collective sigh of relief is most palpable. There are countless stories of people who have experienced such an ordeal.
Then as soon as the ship is gone, at the first pull of the cord the engine starts – like magic. This new and reckless way in which ships enter and leave is not amusing; danger lurks as residents, both those living along the riverside and those crossing to and from the Wismar/Mackenzie shore, are kept on the alert.
While your editorial mentioned the residents of Dallawalla, Christianburg and Speightland, residents further down the river, though it is sparsely populated, are complaining also; Houridia, Tinabu, Silver Hill, Dalgin, Bamia are all experiencing the same thing.
In times past, once in a while ships have been known to cause serious damage to boats, boat-landings and the river banks for one reason or another, but this now seems to be a regular occurrence. Mr De Young, owner of De Young‘s boat landing has complained more than once about parts of his landing being damaged and washed away by the swelling waves caused by fast-moving ships, and that he had to repair these at high cost without any compensation. Complaints to Bosai, he said, were to no avail.
As was mentioned above, it used to be a beautiful scene – and still is, more so to visitors who would admire the ships. The ships sail into port, slicing the water as they calmly glide along the blackberry Demerara, which divides the community down the middle into east and west.
Sometimes they move so slowly at a snail’s pace that one becomes impatient and wonders if they have dropped anchor, as captain and crew are absorbed in a panoramic view from high above. And they always seem delighted at the strange scenery on both sides and the ordinary folks – a strange and different culture and geography all together.
People in authority will have to speak up urgently to the T&HD personnel to have this new practice of ships speeding into our town halted before it’s too late. We are all aware of the impending danger if it is allowed to continue.