Junior Minster of Public Infrastructure Annette Ferguson has apologised for the inconvenience caused by a sunken dredge to users of the Mazaruni channel, in Region Seven, according to a Government Information Agency (GINA) report.
For weeks, residents have been complaining about the sunken dredge and the government’s failure to have it moved.
Ferguson, in an invited comment to GINA, said she understands the plight of those affected and is apologising to them. The minister also urged residents, tourists, boat operators, miners and school children to continue to have patience as the ministry works to bring relief shortly.
The minister told GINA that engineers from the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) took the initiative to cut the dredge into pieces to have it surface and this is expected by the end of the month.
“Relief is underway for the affected riverine communities and I can assure the operators who ply their trade in the Mazaruni area, they will be relieved as we work to remove the dredge as soon as possible,” she said.
GINA added that the channel in which the partially submerged dredge is presently lodged is the only avenue for transportation to the upper and middle Mazaruni.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Natural Resources yesterday said that while there has been some degree of restriction in the river due to the salvage cables attached to the wreck, it is reported that some cargo and passenger boats have been able to pass the area without hindrance through a back channel.
It added that there are reports that the water level of the Mazaruni River of late has caused some difficulty in the salvaging efforts.
The ministry said there is to be an emergency meeting on Monday convened between an advisory board of MARAD and the operator responsible for the sunken dredge, with a view to working out emergency arrangements for the removal of the dredge.