Opposition Member of Parliament, Amanza Walton-Desir is calling on the Government and the Maritime Administration Department to come clean on its relationship with the International Maritime Safety Agency of Guyana, which was the agency that reportedly registered that vessel that was busted with three containers of ammunition in Senegal, West Africa.
In a statement last evening in response to the news on the ammunition bust on the Guyana flagged vessel and in an effort to distance itself, the Maritime Administration Department said the registration of the vessel under the Guyana flag expired in December, and that the registration was originally done by the International Maritime Safety Agency of Guyana, which the local agency has since cut all ties with.
But the Opposition MP raised several questions today following the statement from MARAD.
She pointed out that under the Regulations, if a Guyanese ship is at sea or a foreign port when it becomes due to be registered, a proper officer may issue a provisional certificate which could be in place for as long as six months or when the vessel returns to its home port.
She said it is therefore disrespectful to the people of Guyana for the government to issue a release that suggests that the expiration of the vessel’s registration one month ago, somehow absolves the Administration and renders the vessel of no concern to Guyana.
In relation to the ties between MARAD and the International Agency which has been registering vessels for Guyana, the Member of Parliament pointed out that based on documents, MARAD first entered into an agreement with the India-based agency in February 2021 and dispatched letters to various international organisations informing them of that decision in May last year.
In November last year, the International Maritime Safety Agency of Guyana was still informing international organisations of its role as representative for the Guyana Maritime Administration Department.
This was happening even as the Department claims that the agreement was severed in August.
But under the agreement between MARAD and the International Agency, there is a required notice period of twelve (12) months by either party for withdrawal of the authorization.
The Member of Parliament said therefore if one wants to believe that MARAD ended the agreement in August, it still remains in place for 12 months, ending in August of this year.
Walton-Desir said the government should now make the termination agreement public and any corresponding notice to international agencies.
Additionally, she also wants the government to make public the registration information of all vessels flying the Guyana flag under this so-called Guyana International Ship Registry being administered by IMSAG.
The MP who is also an Attorney said the implications of this situation are dire.
“How can Guyanese be sure that there is not currently in existence an international network of vessels flying under the Guyana flag involved in all manner and sorts of nefarious activities? The PPP/C administration continues to demonstrate their incompetence to conduct our foreign affairs, maintain law and order and meet the obligation of international treaties to which we are party”, Walton-Desir said.