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Some minibuses are getting an unfair advantage – PM

Some minibuses are getting an unfair advantage – PM
Buses parked at the Leeward Bus Terminal in Kingstown (fp)

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Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves has expressed concern about certain reports he has had, relating to police officers attached to the traffic department of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF).

Speaking during his regular appearance on NBC Radio’s Face to Face programme on Wednesday, June 15 Gonsalves said he was told that a lot of policemen, their wives or other family members, own minibuses in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Other policemen know whose mini buses they are,” the prime minister stressed.

He said this situation has resulted in problems relating to the enforcement of traffic regulations because, “Some of the policemen on the roads, they don’t trouble certain mini buses, because they are owned by their friends inside the police force.”

The prime minister told listeners that he had raised this matter previously with police commissioner, Colin John and also with Head of the Traffic Department superintendent, Kenneth John.

While certain police officers may deny that this is happening, Gonsalves said that “enough people tell me so, so I have to raise it.”

The prime minster noted that the police have enormous powers under the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act to deal with matters like overcrowding, conductors, and noise, as it relates to minibuses.

He also responded to a recent letter from the association representing omnibuses, in which they are seeking a meeting with him.

He however noted that the matter relating to their proposal for an increase in the bus fare is now before the Transport Board.

Gonsalves pointed out that it is not that he does not want see the bus operators but that there is a process which he wants to allow to work adding that the matter of increased fares has to be decided by the Transport Board.

And, he has asked Minister of Transport, Montgomery Daniel to keep him updated with ongoing discussions before the Transport Board.

In its April 22, issue SEARCHLIGHT highlighted the possibility of a fare hike.

This was hinted by Minister Daniel, on NBC Radio on Wednesday, April 20.

He spoke then of having received a joint letter from groups representing mini vans and taxi drivers.

Minister Daniel said in that letter the drivers expressed concerns about rising operational cost.

The last increase in bus fares was granted in 2011.