US$18M deal signed for new North West ferry
The government signed a Line of Credit agreement with the Export-Import Bank of India Wednesday for the procurement of an ocean ferry to service the Georgetown to North West District route. At the Ministry of Finance boardroom, Finance Minister Winston Jordan, signed the agreement on behalf of the government with the resident representative of the Bank in Washington DC, Sailesh Prasad. The total cost of the ferry is US$18M. However, the first $8M will be provided by the Government of India as a grant. Depending on the progress the project makes, the additional $10M will be disbursed under the LOC. Accompanying Minister Jordan was Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, who said that the Transport and Harbours Department has been encumbered with aging vessels. He said that the MV Kimbia is awaiting repairs and the MV Barima is scheduled to be back in operation soon. Patterson said that the only vessel plying the Georgetown to North West route is the MV Lady Northcote. According to him, the vessel can only reach areas such as Kumaka and Port Kaituma once every two or three weeks. He said that it is hoped that with the signing of this agreement and with the help of the Indian government the dilemma can be rectified. Patterson made it clear that the vessel will not be made available immediately. He said the vessel is not an off-the-shelf item and that its parts have to be procured and fabricated before being shipped to Guyana.