`Heavy’ boat passengers are being discriminated against at Supenaam

Dear Editor,

I write to bring to the attention of readers, the Transport and Harbours Department and the Ministry of Transport, the violation of speedboat transport operating norms and a violation of my rights at the Supenaam boarding.

There is a practice of discrimination in which “heavy” passengers are punished. Last week, I was waiting to board the speed boat from Supenaam to Parika. I was the third person in line waiting for the boat to be loaded when the Captain told me I could not go on the boat because he already had four other persons who have weight like me. I was before the four other persons but for some reason, he had been selecting which passengers should go on the boat. I asked him his name and his answer to me was that I cannot talk to him.

Then I went to the dispatcher Mr. Robert (Tibs) and he gave me the name of the boat captain who is Mr. Colbert Bay Junior. It is not a first come, first serve system. The boat dispatcher Mr. Robert (Tibs) told the boat captain Mr. Colbert Bay Junior that he cannot do things like this, that he is wrong but the captain did not pay any attention to him. This happened on Thursday, 17th October, 2013 at 4:20 pm. Because of this kind of discrimination, I had to hire a special boat to take me from Supenaam to Parika because the captain said if I went into the boat, the boat will go slower to Parika and my weight is 2301bs and he had other people in the boat who were over 2301bs.

When I reached to Parika with the special hire boat, the dispatcher there at Parika was Mr. Monitor. I made a report to him and he said he would note my report and requested of me to speak with Mr. Curtis, the senior dispatcher. I did speak to Mr. Curtis by telephone and he recommended that I speak to Mr. Steven Thomas in Georgetown. The next day, I spoke to Mr. Steven Thomas in Georgetown and made my complaint to him. He promised to look into this matter. Now this is not the first time this has happened to me at Supenaam. About two other times this happened to me.

These speed boat captains know me and they feel I have lots of money so I should be able to hire a special boat to travel in. 1 am strongly protesting that the authority should deal severely with these boat captains. I also would like to bring to the attention of the authority that some of these speed boats must sanitise their lifejackets and the tarpaulin that we are covering with. I have been travelling frequently to Essequibo and sometimes when you go into these speed boats, put on the lifejackets and cover with the tarpaulin, the bad scent that you get from the lifejacket and the tarpaulin make you feel like throwing up. 1 am appealing once again to the authority which controls these speed boats, to look into these matters very seriously and to let the captains and conductors know that this is public transportation and they must learn to be humble and respectful to passengers because this is where they are making their livelihood from and any captain who discriminates against passengers should be suspended or their licence should be taken away from them because they are not fit to work for the public.


Yours faithfully,
Vishnu Bandhu

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