Chaos at Parika Stelling after repairs hold up ferry passengers

A decision to repair a section of the Parika Stelling yesterday after led to chaos after it delayed the departure of one vessel to Leguan and the offloading of the ferry from Supenaam.

The MB Sandaka bound for Leguan was scheduled to leave at 4 pm and passengers who got there since 2.30 pm in order to be early, told Stabroek News that the contractor started the repairs at 3.30 pm. Officials at the Transport and Harbours Department could not be contacted yesterday for a comment on the situation.

The angry Leguan passengers said they watched as several boards from an entire section were removed making it impossible for vehicles to pass.

In frustration, they lamented, “It’s now 6.30 [pm] and up to now we can’t get on the boat.”

The Leguan passengers were further delayed when officials from the Transport & Harbours Department allowed vehicles from the MV Kanawan which arrived around 5:30 pm, to offload first.

In frustration, the driver of a canter, who was heading to Leguan, decided to block the gate briefly to prevent the vehicles MV Kanawan from traversing the area.

Some of the passengers, who were not there with vehicles, opted to pay $500 to cross with speedboats instead of waiting on the ferry which costs $80 per person.

Meanwhile, the pontoon had arrived from Leguan at 3.45 pm and the vehicles had to endure a long wait before they could disembark. During that time a baby was “crying non-stop,” one angry passenger said.

“They made us wait for a long time and that’s not fair,” one driver from Leguan lamented. “They should have allowed us to load and leave because only six vehicles have to cross. But they start to offload the other one and forget about the Leguan passengers.”

Some farmers told this newspaper that they left their homes since Friday to sell their produce at the Leonora market yesterday and were expected to return home early. Other passengers said they had travelled to do Christmas shopping and were tired.

Meanwhile, passengers from the MV Kanawan told Stabroek News that “the boat was slow to reach at the stelling. We din mind that but when they reach they weren’t opening the door to let us out.”

Besides, they said, “nobody was giving us any explanation or apology; they weren’t telling us anything.”

They said it was very frustrating and they started to express their disgust loudly. A few passengers risked life and limb and jumped off the ferry.

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