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#456577 - 01/28/13 07:46 AM A Note on Incompetence
Marty Offline

Letter to the Editor, San Pedro Sun

To the Editor:

I believe that no one wants to be the victim of incompetence. Incompetence can be inconvenient; incompetence can be annoying; incompetence can be dangerous. Incompetence on the sea is reprehensible. I wish to relate an example of incompetence on the sea.

On the morning of Thursday, January 17th, the Administration of San Pedro Roman Catholic Elementary School arranged for a boat to take teachers to a Belize Teachers Union meeting in Belize City. The boat was incompetently serviced. With over thirty passengers aboard, it stalled five times on the trip from San Pedro to Belize City.

The teachers were to return to San Pedro at 4:30 pm. When they arrived at the dock, a crew member was asked if this was the same boat that brought them to Belize City. The answer was affirmative. The next question was: Has the crew spent the afternoon repairing the engine. The answer was “No.”

Barely fifteen minutes underway- near St. George’s Caye- the boat’s motor quit for good. The thirty or so passengers were left adrift in a very rough sea and approaching darkness. Waves were splashing over the gunnels, and I called the Coast Guard. After several questions, the Coast Guard man asked to speak to the captain. I handed the captain my phone, and he angrily declared that he would not talk to the Coast Guard. An administrator from RC Elementary took my phone, and speaking into it said, “There is no problem here. A boat is on the way.”

Long after dark, a second boat did arrive, and after many dangerous maneuvers, came close enough to let passengers- stressfully, considering the high seas, move from the disabled boat to the other. After a dispute among crew involving what would be the right way to get the boat in the dark back to the proper channel toward San Pedro was resolved, the trip continued without mishap. The boat docked in San Pedro at a little after seven o’clock at night, two and a half hours after it left Belize City.

A dispassionate and civilized word to describe the inconvenience, the annoyance and the danger to the passengers of a boat so inadequately prepared for its promised conveyance is “incompetence.” Had the Coast Guards men arrived when they should have and assessed the situation as they should have, they might have used a different adjective to describe the boat’s proprietors and crew: criminal.

Georgia Borland

#456580 - 01/28/13 07:56 AM Re: A Note on Incompetence [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
Georgia, How much did you pay for this boat? I'm guessing you shopped around for a discounted price from an operator that doesn't normally do this run?? Could part of the blame be that your choice of operators was the price??
Everyday I deal with people wanting discounts and never questioning the many other important considerations. The coast guard and port authority have requirements that make taking passengers for hire an expensive endeavor and for good reason. Its easy to find incompetent people willing to take risks for a little money.
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#456594 - 01/28/13 10:06 AM Re: A Note on Incompetence [Re: Marty]
Money has everything to do with root cause of this situation but that would be immaterial to fighting charges of manslaughter or negligent homicide.
Ms Borland's complaint should be addressed to the School and the Coast Guard. The school did not do their job in securing safe transportation and the Coast Guard needs particulars so they may take action if they choose to address the situation.
A letter to the Editor of the SP Sun is just venting without purpose.
Was anyone wearing a life vest?


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