The President of the National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT), Godfrey Ferdinand, has expressed shock over Transport Minister Stephenson King’s response to the organisation’s complaints about poor road conditions.
“I wish he would take back his words – apologise to Council,” the NCOPT President declared.
“I think the Minister should apologise publicly,” Ferdinand said.
King recently called on the NCOPT to deal with minibus operators who violate the rights of others, including young women.
“I was shocked, taken aback by this,” Council President Godfrey Ferdinand told St. Lucia Times.
He also questioned why King, a Senior Minister, would not have contacted the police.
“What do potholes have to do with disciplinary matters?” Ferdinand asked.
He disclosed that the NCOPT had written to every Transport Minister over the past fifteen years, requesting a disciplinary committee to deal with errant bus operators.
“I can give you documents or letters that we have written to every Prime Minister and Minister of Transport asking for a disciplinary committee,” Ferdinand told St. Lucia Times.
“It’s the Minister, within his Ministry, that can discipline in terms of suspending a permit or revoking a permit,” the NCOPT President explained.
“We have been begging to at least revoke the permit of individuals we know that are not abiding by the rules and regulations. What is so difficult about this that we cannot get it from any administration?” Ferdinand declared.
He recalled that the NCOPT received a promise of a disciplinary committee in July last year and a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) report in December last year.
However, Ferdinand lamented that about a year later, the NCOPT could not get the promised disciplinary committee.
He said he did not want a war with King.
But he declared that the NCOPT, comprising about 1,400 buses, has a right to request better roads.
“We are not asking for a strike. We are just asking to fix the roads,” Ferdinand noted.