Redemption Sharpes vanmen at breaking point
Passenger van operators from Redemption Sharpes took the decision to pull off the roads on Tuesday due to poor road conditions and say they are prepared to intensify the action until the road conditions improve.
Front Page
May 3, 2024

Redemption Sharpes vanmen at breaking point

“We working for parts and the mechanic”.

This is the cry of Redemption Sharpes van operators who took the decision to pull off the roads on Tuesday due to poor road conditions which they say are continually causing damage to their vehicles.

Close to a dozen drivers and conductors parked their vans on April 30, 2024, leaving passengers stranded and forced to walk the steep hills of the Central Kingstown community to journey home from work and school.

They took the SEARCHLIGHT team along the van route highlighting four primary areas of concern with extensive potholes and road breakage.

“This part of the road where they call Scrubby Corner, this is the worst part of the road in Sharpes. There is no way you come on the road here and drive freely without feeling that something mash up. Even walking you can sprain your ankle,” driver, Tretius Haynes said.

The issue, the operators highlighted, was the shoddy work being done with the road repairs which last for only two to three weeks.

“They just coming and throwing in stuff and not fixing the road good. Time two or three weeks, the road done mash up. When the rain come, the road mash up again, making you wonder what them really do. It just mashing up your van. If you coming to fix the road, fix the road good,” Raphael Fergusson said in an interview.

The condition of the roads in the community have been raised in the House of Assembly by Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St Clair Leacock. Back in 2022, he highlighted the area referred to as Hollywood, from the intersection at the Bess/Martindale gap, past Pastor Bess, all the way up to Trigger Ridge as badly in need of repairs.

The operators said the situation is frustrating as all of the money they are earning on a daily basis has to be paid out to buy parts to fix their vans.

“This Saturday I couldn’t even get to work because the condition of the road break off my steering clamp and it ‘buss’ the radiator. I come back out on the road yesterday to try a thing again and the radiator ‘buss’ again; Just because you trying to make ends meet. In this road you not going make it,” Haynes lamented.

Driver, Randy Dublin said, “I off the road for two days now. Two grand [$2,000] I just pay Mrs Brewster for parts and that ain’t even all.”

May, 1, is the date set by government for the increase of a number of fees, including permits for conductors of omnibuses which will jump from $15 to $100, inspection of vehicles from$90 to $115, and driver’s license will go from $100 to $125.

The operators said it is unfair to road users to be forced to pay increased fees and have to use the roads in their current state.

“It come like we spinning top in mud when we working, because you come out and try hustle to make $200, $300 and at the end of the day…you still want more on top of that. “Every time I try, something always break,” Fergusson said.

The operators said they are prepared to intensify the action until the road conditions improve.