One week after commuters had complained about extortion being practised by boat operators traversing the Georgetown and Vreed-en-Hoop stellings on Sundays and holidays, Harbour Master Michael Tennant has announced that those operators can be suspended for their actions if the matter is reported.Guyana Times reported that boat operators were charging double fares on Sundays and holidays, much to the discomfiture of the travelling public.Tennant, in an interview with this publication, said passengers need to report the incidents for MARAD to act. He noted that complainants would be required to file an official report, which would require the name of the boat along with the time of the incident, since it would make the investigation easier.This newspaper was informed that boat operators usually demand a fare increase of an additional $100 when they transport half the number of passengers on this route.Passengers have also detailed cases when they were forced to pay the extra $100, some without even knowing that the additional fee is unlawful.When Guyana Times visited the Georgetown Stelling to investigate the complaint one recent Friday, some disgruntled passengers opined that the fare increase was quite burdensome and “unfair” to them. An angry passenger had said, “I ain’t get raise on my salary, so I ain’t concern with no raise of fare! I won’t go for no raise of fare!”Another frequent boat user had told Guyana Times, “I think that the fee increase on weekends and holidays is unnecessary and unacceptable. The boat captains and bowmen would have the maximum number of persons on board and still charge the $200 fee. It is a matter that should be looked into by the relevant authorities, because it’s an act of exploiting customers.”Another passenger of the water taxis had said, “We have no other choice. Sometimes — especially when they (boat operators) know that the bridge is closed — they try to exploit us, and I think that is unfair.”Still another passenger had noted being subjected to the increase predominantly on Sundays and holidays. “The double-fare being charged by boat operators on Sundays and holidays is definitely ridiculous! It’s unethical! This was never approved! I believe only persons who aren’t aware of this are the ones that are being targeted. I pay $100 on those days, especially when the boats travel with a full load,” this passenger had said.Agreeing with the statements expressed by most passengers, Trisha Patterson had said she had seen cases in which the boat operators had come over with full loads and were still demanding $200 from each passenger. She opined that the situation needed to be investigated.A bowman who spoke to this newspaper had said the fares are increased on Sundays and holidays because those are not full working days.“Sundays and holidays is $200 (charged) because we ain’t supposed to be working. So them man does come out because them ain’t got nothing fuh do (and them want) fuh try and help de passengers to get across more fast. $200 a head. Me ain’t know why them (passengers) does row, because this is de cheapest boat fare around here,” he had declared.
The Democratic presidential campaign, viewed in Iowa, is awash in uncertainties. Will Edwards, who started a 17-county bus tour on Friday, hold the supporters who propelled him to second place here in 2004? Will Obama turn his large crowds into real votes? Will Clinton’s national advantages assuage concern among some voters who worry how Republicans will go after her in a general election? Interviews with more than two dozen Democrats here this week suggest that the race remains remarkably unsettled, with voters voicing concern about Edwards’ viability, Obama’s experience and Clinton’s electability.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NEW HAMPTON, Iowa – A broad grin spread across Sen. Barack Obama’s face as he turned to walk away from a city park here on Friday after shaking the last hand and posing for a final photograph with a clutch of supporters. Given the political news of the week, at least back in Washington, why the smile? “It’s not over!” Obama said, pausing for a moment to answer an open-ended question about the state of the campaign. “Presumably if they thought the race was over, they wouldn’t be taking the time to come to a town-hall meeting to talk about the presidential race.” If the chase for the Democratic nomination appears to have reached a stage of inevitability, if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York is becoming a runaway front-runner, as national polls might suggest and some of her rivals are beginning to fear, the word has not reached the voters here in Chickasaw County. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityIt is not that the 200 or so people who turned out to see Obama on Friday morning were oblivious to such prognostications. As ardent political enthusiasts, many obsessively follow them. But the voters here have not necessarily become believers, particularly before they have their own chance to size up the competition when it comes to town. “The one thing about Iowa is that we always have the ability to bring a reality check to the country,” said Randall Rolph, 56, who came with his son to see Obama and plans to return Sunday when Clinton arrives for a campaign stop. Still, three months before the Iowa caucuses open the nominating contests on both sides of the ticket, a fresh sense of urgency is at hand for Obama as he tries to change the dynamic of the race. Clinton, who started the year perceived to be trailing Obama and former Sen. John Edwards in Iowa, has crept up in state polls. On a four-day tour through Iowa this week, Obama of Illinois continued to draw large crowds in city after city. He sharpened his message about his early opposition to the war, he devoted more time to voters’ questions, and he talked increasingly about the need for Democrats to choose a candidate who is honest, truthful and, ultimately, able to bring about change. With a newly crafted sales pitch, he acknowledged that he was “behind in the national polls,” and asked Iowans for their support. “If you’ve decided that you’re supporting me, don’t keep on waiting because it’s going to get chilly soon,” Obama said. “The fact is, all of you are going to decide who the next president of the United States is.”