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August 2, 2013

Historical Notes

“First Bus to Reach Chateaubelair”

Messrs Agard and Gabriel drove Chervolet (sic) Bus V146 over Dangerous Roads-

“Mr. Arnott Agard accompanied and assisted by motor mechanic George Gabriel created a precedence by driving a long passenger bus to Fitz Hughes over 26 miles of dangerous roads on Thursday last, 27th instant. The courage and driving skills demanded to perform this feat may be judged by the fact that it is still considered no ordinary feat for small cars to make the trip and persons are still diffident to make the trip in cars unless they are assured of the skill and steadiness of the drivers.{{more}}

Leaving Kingstown at 6 a.m., the small party, including the two drivers, reached Barrouallie in quick time.

From Barrouallie onwards the village inhabitants waved and cheered the bus as it passed negotiating some very dangerous corners; – here and there, reversing and going forward to take corners comfortably with very steady hands the bus was held on some of the narrow roads, when one slight twist of the wheel might have meant a drop of over 100 feet!

Everywhere a great sensation was created and the astonished inhabitants presented the drivers with bouquets and other gifts in appreciation of their daring feat. The party reached Chateaubelair at 11:30 a.m., after spending an hour at Troumaca.

Leaving Chateaubelair at 2 p.m. they made a short visit to Rose Hall, receiving there the same ovation. They returned to Kingstown at 7 p.m. after stopping at the various towns on the way up.

In an interview with a staff reporter of the Times, Mr. Agard said that he had always visualised the possibility of buses plying along the leeward coast as they do on the Windward Coast and felt that with some improvement on the most dangerous corners and some of the narrow roads, there is no reason why in the near future easy and quick means of transport and communication should not be made possible on the Leeward Coast. This, he felt, would assist greatly in making the inhabitants of that coast as thriving as the people on the windward coast.

We congratulate the men on their bravery, skill and foresight, hoping that their effort will create real stir in Government circles to make it possible for buses to ply regularly on the Leeward Coast as they do on the Windward side of the island.” (The Times newspaper, Saturday, May 29, 1937)