Driving Instructors in Saint Lucia are planning ‘serious’ protect action, declaring that they are frustrated by the inaction of the authorities in response to a myriad of complaints about issues affecting the instructors.
However, the instructors would not provide details about their planned action.
The Public Relations Officer of the National Association of Driving Schools (NADS), Kingson Jean, told the Times that from the time the current administration came to power the association has written three letters highlighting issues that need to be urgently addressed.
But Jean said there has been no response.
He explained that at one time a special window and a clerk were assigned to driving instructors since the instructors previously used the same window as members of the public, resulting in the instructors being in a line for a long time to conduct their business.
Jean said the special concession has since been discontinued.
He complained that there are not enough examiners.
“Thirty years ago we had three driving examiners for the entire Island but we only had about ten driving schools, now we have 64 driving instructors and we still have three examiners,” Jean told the Times.
He declared that the existing examiners cannot handle the number of students who want to sit the practical driving examinations.
Jean noted that as a result, during the time that students have to wait to sit the exams their permits and medical certificates expire and have to be renewed.
He explained that a medical examination can cost up to $150.
“This is really an added burden on members of the public,” he told the Times.
Jean pointed out that an examiner brings in no less than $8000 to the ministry per month and are paid a small fraction of the sum, yet successive administrations have not seen it fit to employ an additional two examiners.
The NADS PRO said that an additional cost of $50 was slapped on the first time practical exam but his association made no fuss, thinking that the additional funds would go towards hiring more examiners.
He said the association was informed that the fee had always been on the books, just never implemented.
Jean said after his association met two weeks ago and decided on protest action, the ministry got wind of the plan prompting a promise to the President of NADS that the letters of concern written by the association would be presented to cabinet and a response would have been given.
“To date, not a word, not a word, not a word,” the NADS official observed.
Jean declared that the association does not wish to embarrass any administration.
But he warned that members of the public can expect ‘serious’ protest action in the coming days if the concerns of the driving instructors are not addressed in the quickest possible time.
According to Jean, the protest action will affect the whole country.