Last Updated on Monday, 12 December 2022, 7:29 by Denis Chabrol
President Irfaan Ali brokered last night brokered a deal with the speed boat operators who work the Georgetown to Vreed-en-Hoop route to have their fare remain at $100 per person.
The Office of the President says the decision was made after Dr Ali met with members of the Demerara River Speed Boat Association at the National Track and Field Centre in Leonora last evening.
The operators last week switched off their outboard engines and parked their vessels to pressure government into agreeing to a GY$20 fare increase. In response, the Guyana Defence Force’s boats and buses were deployed to break the strike and shuttle commuters across the river.
The President reportedly committed to help improve the service of the speedboat operators and the landing area while continuously aiding their growth.
The Office of the President says Vice President of the Demerara River Speed Boat Association, Lallbachan Babulal expressed satisfaction with the meeting and said members are looking forward to working with the President to improve the service. “We feel more relaxed because when we were on strike, it was kind of restless at that moment in time but now that we met with the President, he has given us all assurances that he would do whatever it takes to make our service a better service and so we agreed that from the promises to have a better service next year,” he said.
Importantly, Mr Babulal said that the fares would remain at $100 “for now until when we see what happens next year.”
Mr Babulal’s reported agreement could not be independently verified immediately, but the Office of the President released videos in which executive members of the association said President Ali promised to improve the landing area in exchange for not increasing the fare. “We agree that we will work for $100 and the President promise we that he will make a better facility for we and whatever he can do for us during the period,” Secretary of the Demerara Speedboat Association, Poshan Khemraj.