Guyana Chronicle / Dear Editor,
EVEN thou I don’t know the relatives of the late Latchman Benjie, my children and I would like to express our heartfelt sympathies to his family and relatives for their loss which I am quite sure will leave such small children traumatised for a very long time.
Over the years I have been travelling to many places in Guyana and using the waterways was the main way of travelling and based on my observation, I have concluded that citizens in the whole are very irresponsible with their lives and those of others. Most of them are accustomed to one way of life and even though it’s dangerous, they prefer that method instead of adopting changes that would be safer for them and others. With the change in Government, many rules that were there but were not being implemented were being re-enforced but those who directly would have been be affected protested against this move. Editor, the reason I say this is because most of my time at different locations, my attention would be drawn to the dangerous scenes around me and I would always point it out and many would ignore or they would defend these actions, saying that is what they accustomed to.
At many places, public and private water transportation could be seen traversing the waterways at night without any lights on the boat. On the waterways sometimes it’s very dark and visibility is very poor, one cannot see upcoming traffic until its close.
Many of these boats are owned by individuals for their own personal use, would be laden with various items and sometimes the boats are overloaded causing the boat to sway in the water dangerously, especially when the water is rough. What is more dangerous is that sometimes they would have their families in the boat and sometimes some might be small children and not one life jacket could be seen in any of these boat that is being used for personal purposes. Go to Hubu koker and see many families loading their boats or discharging their goods and most of the boats are barely above the water. They prefer to make one trip to save gas and risk lives instead of doing the right thing. Everywhere that I have been is the same way everyone operates. Sometimes you are lucky to see children as small as seven years old manoeuvring an engine boat. Whilst this is admirable, it’s also dangerous especially when the boat is laden with weights. As is the case of Latchman Benjie, if he had on long boots that should never have been on because many people would tell you that is a dangerous move especially if you have to go into water. Editor, those responsible should ensure proper safety precautions are in place and private boats should have life jackets especially for children, lights on the boats for nights and emergency life rings on it.
There should be a limit to weights on the boats based on the boat size. In order to save lives, we must ensure these rules are in place. Over the years we’ve heard of many accidents on the waterways and most of them are deadly compared to the roadways.
Regards Sahadeo Bates
GUYANA: Adhere to the safety rules on the waterways
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