I am simply surprised like many others that no positive action is being taken by the relevant authorities to prevent the overloading of passengers in speed boats plying the Supenaam/Parika route and too late the cry shall be some time or the other over the loss of precious lives when something seriously happens because of this dangerous practice. The operators are cognizant of exactly the registered number of passengers to be accommodated in their vessels, but yet for all, they presumptuously violate the law to augment their income with much neglect of public safety.
As a lawyer, I have never seen anyone being prosecuted before the courts here for carrying overload, but it is time for this to be done in a bid to curb the lawlessness since laws were made to be respected and not to be made a mockery of as can be seen here.
It so happened that around 4:30 to 5:00 PM on June 26, last, two boats were being loaded simultaneously at Parika with the one I was in, having been registered to carry 16 passengers, already having 14 with a far lesser number in the other one.
A 3-year-old girl was seated next to me when a group of six to seven persons arrived and the coxswain of my boat asked the mother to put the child on her lap so that a fat woman could come and sit next to me on the third seat from the stern.
There were already three persons in the stern next to the engine when I suggested rather than for this to happen, I would pay the full fare for the child but my offer was rejected and the boat ending up leaving with five “extra” passengers.
At the time, the monitor for all the boats at Parika was holding the guy rope of the boat I was in with the five “extra” passengers, but for reasons best known to him, he just remained silent.
In my opinion, it was incumbent upon the monitor there and then to ensure there was no overloading and for all operations to be confined within the ambit of the laws.
What annoyed me too was that when a passenger without any baggage disembarked at Hog Island, he was called upon to pay one thousand, five hundred dollars for just about half the distance when the regular fare from Parika to Supenaam is twelve hundred dollars.
Something must be done and urgently too to stop these anomalies once and for all.
Hilary Lashley Bobb
Editor’s note: A GINA release issued earlier this week said that Minister of Transport and Hydraulics Robeson Benn admonished delinquent speed boat operators on the Parika-Supenaam route to comply with safety measures.