A group of Gros Islet bus drivers went on strike Sunday afternoon, in protest over parking tickets issued to about four of their colleagues by Traffic Police.
The drivers were issued the tickets while their buses were parked in the area which is reserved for Monchy buses.
Gros Islet Bus driver, Kentish Estephor, told the Times that some of his colleagues have been operating for over twenty years and parking on the Monchy bus stand when no Monchy buses are there.
“On Sunday, the Monchy buses don’t operate so we park there because it is our safe haven,” Estephor told the Times.
He explained that when they park at the Gros Islet stand, some of the drivers are robbed.
Estephor said as a result, on Sunday they park on the Monchy stand.
“All of a sudden today, after twenty years and more, the police decide to charge us for parking so today we are going to take a stand. If they do not revoke those tickets we are not working and if they don’t revoke it as from tonight, tomorrow we continue – we are going to strike,” he declared.
Another driver, Thomas Valcent, expressed the view that Gros Islet drivers were being targeted by the police.
Valcent disclosed that he has been operating his bus for about fifteen years, while other drivers have been there for up to thirty years.
He said the drivers use both the Gros Islet and Monchy bus stands.
“If you look at the multitude of drivers that are working in the Castries basin – Bexon does not use their bus stand on a Sunday, they use Bridge Street; Vieux Fort uses Bridge Street; so why all of them are not being charged and they are charging us?” He said.
Valcent said that from about 5 pm On Sunday, December 18, 2016, when the parking tickets were issued, about twenty drivers who were on the Gros Islet bus stand decided to stop working in protest, some of them opting to go home.
The strike left a few commuters stranded.
‘Askie’ who said he has been working with the Gros Islet drivers as a ‘Board Man’ responsible for conducting the affairs of the bus stand for over fifteen years, told the Times that Monchy drivers do not operate on Sunday.
“So all over the years all my Gros Islet drivers have been parking on the other side which is the Monchy bus stand and apparently today the police came out in full force and began charging some of my drivers,” “Askie” told the Times.