Boat owners hopeful

Two of the most popular party boats have been forced to operate differently since late last year.

However, although the MC Buccaneer and the MV Dreamchaser are only allowed to operate dockside, and is likely that the latter could be divested, representatives for both vessels are hoping that they will be able to sail again.

Owner of the MC Buccaneer Randall Armstrong told Nation News last week that when the COVID Monitoring Unit permitted the party boat to operate as a bar, they relocated it to the Independence Square section of the Careenage in Bridgetown.

He said he was hopeful they’d be able to get back on the water.

One of the directors of the Dreamchaser Russell Wilson pointed out that, unlike other pleasure boats that were given the all-clear to resume sailing in 2021, they were not.

“The entertainment and cruising sectors have both reopened. It lends itself to looking discriminatory when we fit into both of those sectors, but yet we can’t do what we are designed to do. We will continue to push for dialogue with relevant authorities. We’ve requested dialogue up to today and we will keep trying to reach out because we are not being heard and if we are heard, we are not being responded to.

“We hope that we can return to the waters and do what we were designed to do in the safest way possible,” he said.

Although the entertainment sector was allowed to reopen under strict protocols including vaccinations and testing, he noted that they were still only allowed to operate dockside.

Wilson explained that they have always taken the health and safety of patrons seriously, as he pointed out that they invested in an onsite COVID-19 testing area.

“Even as a dockside event, in the interest of public safety, we absorbed the cost of having two COVID monitoring validators. We’ve also incurred the cost of having two monitoring officers and we set up an onsite testing facility for persons who are not fully vaccinated. We try to make sure we do everything,” he said.

Earlier this month, it was announced that the Dreamchaser was being divested.

“The shareholders of RJB Boat Rides have decided to divest 100% interest in the M.V Dreamchaser. The shareholders are seeking to divest as part of a strategic realignment,” the company said in a release on social media.

Wilson explained that the decision was taken following a difficult two years. He also said although they had some interest, they were still in talks.

“We have gotten some interest in different Caribbean territories but it is a process. We are in talks to see if it is a good fit for us and them,” Wilson said. (TG)


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