Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill has called on water taxi operators to comply with the safety regulations set out by the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD).
“One of the interventions that we thought we could make is that MARAD from its own resources demonstrate to the public the seriousness of what we believe and what we implement as it relates to safety, by the distribution of safety vests to operators,” the minister said Saturday as he handed over life vests to boat operators at the Parika Stelling.
“If you are wearing your vest, and you recognise the need for safety for your person, you will then help us as regulators and as government to enforce that on the boats that you operate to ensure that your passengers are safe,” he urged.
Minister Edghill said severe action to reduce the number of casualties due to the recklessness by some persons would harm all boat operators, including those complying with the law.
As such, he urged them to work with MARAD and the Ministry of Public Works to ensure a robust system where people would have confidence.
The public works minister advised operators to put more emphasis on enhancing their service, especially considering the recent growth in the tourism sector, which feeds into water taxi operations.
“The life vests that you offer to passengers, you gotta clean them, you gotta sanitise them. Guyana is developing into a tourist country. Not everybody will want to be taking a sweaty vest…. When the trip is done, instead of hustling for the next set of passengers, get your sanitiser and wipe the vest off, so that you can be able to offer the vest to a passenger when they board, and they must see that the vest is being sanitised, and they will have greater confidence in wearing it.”
Minister Edghill called on boat operators to recognise the goodwill of MARAD in organising the donation, and enforce security protocols when operating their vessels.
“You should be able to say to passengers, ‘I can’t sail this boat if y’all don’t put on your vests’. Or, ‘If you don’t want to wear your vest, please go with another boat. I don’t want this on my shift’. The monitors have a responsibility, but the operators also have a responsibility,” the Minister said.
A total of 800 vests will be distributed throughout the rest of the week. (Extracted from the Department of Public Information)