Tempers flare at Kingston wharf as North West travellers left stranded

Several persons were left behind when the MV Barima departed the wharf at Kingston yesterday heading to the North-West District.

The demand for tickets was more than the available capacity of the vessel, Stabroek News was told. This newspaper was told that at one point the passengers became unruly and police were called. A similar situation occurred last year on January 12 when police were summoned to the Transport and Harbours Department (T&HD) dock at Kingston, after passengers stormed and overloaded the Lady Northcote ferry, demanding to be taken to the North West District with or without tickets.

Some of the passengers left behind at the T&HD dock at Kingston yesterday.
Some of the passengers left behind at the T&HD dock at Kingston yesterday.

At the wharf yesterday, several would-be passengers stood around with their luggage but later left. Several of them told Stabroek News that the Barima could not accommodate all the persons who wanted to travel. Some said that at one point tickets, which were sold for $2,000, were being purchased for $4,000.

Stabroek News was told that tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and when the vessel reaches its maximum passenger and cargo capacity all ticket sales are halted and persons can wait for the next available ferry. The ferry was the first for the year, some passengers said. They added that they were told that the MV Kimbia, which has a larger capacity, is not available to service the route as it was undergoing maintenance.

“It overcrowded and me ain able go in with my baby,” said Shondell George as she stood on the wharf with her four-month-old son, her daughter and a friend. She said that she would have to wait on the next available trip, which could be in two weeks time. She said that the Barima would return by this weekend and then make the journey to the North-West the following weekend. She said that she would stay with her sister for the time.

Others said too that they would have to wait because they could not afford to travel by plane. Shortly after 1pm yesterday, the packed ferry was preparing to depart.

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