I am writing this letter to get the attention of persons in higher authority. I have been using the ferry to transport my vehicle to Bartica and Essequibo for the past three years, and bribery has become the key factor in getting your vehicle on the ferry, with the perpetrators becoming more efficient.
The problem is that if you don’t pay, your vehicle is left there for approximately a week and this has become frustrating for the regulars using the ferry.
For example, I take my vehicle there, and they say, “You cannot go now, boat is full and one boat load left back,” so I will decide to wait. However, later people who are not regulars come with their vehicles and pay $10,000 – that is the standard fee to get a space on the boat for you. But if another person comes and he pays $20,000, for example, he gets to go in front of the person who has paid the $10,000, so that I, the regular traveler, will have to wait with my goods simply because I have failed to pay.
Even when I get on the boat after waiting all those days, they will still come and ask for money from me – “lef something nah?” Editor, my problem is that sometimes I get one-week‘s credit from my suppliers and I have to sell the goods to pay these people.
If I have to be there all week how can I survive? This includes the other sales vehicle as well and sometimes I have perishable goods, and these guys would say to me, “If you want your perishable to go you have to off load on the boat.“
I used to cope with this by off-loading my goods onto the ferry but by the time it reaches its destination some of the items have been stolen. Even the vegetable vendors lose in this way, but now the situation has become very frustrating for all the persons travelling regularly with vehicles, and if you interview them they will tell you the same thing.
I have tried talking to senior officials at the Parika Stelling, but they have not given any proper response.
(Name and address provided)