A CONCERN man from Temotu province has questioned the National Government and their two Member of Parliament for Nende and Pele as to where are the Transport Fund initiated by the government to support and address their transport difficulties.
John Laura made the call following a good number of passengers who were denied to board the LC. Marama yesterday as it sails for Temotu province.
Laura who was amongst those passengers said though it’s a normal thing for them, it’s enough to face such a struggle.
“Should we have our own ship bought by our own MPs, we should not face such problem,” he said.
Laura said if their fellow MP for Vatu managed to get one ship for her constituency including other constituencies in the country, why not Pele and Nende who rely heavily on Ship as a means of transport?
He said on Saturday, MV Vatud Star easily sails to Temotu and every passenger onboard will have the privilege to celebrate this Christmas in their respective homes with families whilst for them, it might be next year.
Laura said since no passengers were allowed and they already paid for their freights, luggage, and cargos, they demand that their belongings must be unloaded before the ship sails.
“We have to demand our goods be unloaded otherwise we lose them on the way home because no one would take good care of them in every port of call the ship will make,” he said.
He then encouraged the two MPs to apply for the Transport Fund if it requires application so that it helps address their transport difficulties.
The Solomon Star was informed that LC. Marama was supposed to sail on Saturday mid-day but was differed until Sunday due to the issue of passengers not allowed to board the ship home.
A notice had already been put up explaining the trip as a cargo run but as usual, especially during such Christmas season where transport services are so difficult, people still travel in those cargo run ships.
A Marine officer at the Point Cruz Wharf also announced that no passenger is allowed to board the vessel.
“Final inspection would be made prior to the departure and if any passengers were found inside the ship, Police will deal with that particular passenger and remove him or her from the ship,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Owner of Marama Reginald Douglas, told those passengers that it was an order from the Office of the Marine stating that no passenger is allowed to board the ship since it was a cargo and petrol run, adding the ship is not designed to carry passengers.
With a heart for the passengers, Mr. Douglas made a phone call to the two MPs for Pele and Nende if they can assist by chartering a ship to carry those passengers but there was no positive response.
He said such an idea came about after a similar incident occurred on the weekend when M.V Fair King bound for Malaita Province was halted for overloading with cargo and passengers.
“The cargo run ship was delayed for three days due to overloading of passengers and so with that, two MPs in Malaita chartered M.V Taimareho to carry those passengers whilst MV. Fair King sailed with only its cargo,” he added.
Mr. Douglas said it’s a sad thing to see people denied in such circumstances due to transport difficulties.
He said it was evident that the new foreigner in charge of the Maritime Shipping has really applied the maritime laws ensuring that the safety of passengers is the number one rule.
“We have tried our best to negotiate with Marine if they can allow us 60, 50, or 20 passengers, but he still stands on his word not to carry any single passenger so nothing else we can do but to comply,” he said.
By IAN M.KAUKUI