Castries South East Mp Guy Joseph has told reporters that dialogue could have averted a protest by Millet bus drivers over poor road conditions.
The drivers announced last week that they would no longer service Belair and Venus Estate because of the condition of the roads there.
“It’s an unfortunate situation that has developed,” Guy Joseph told reporters Monday.
He explained that he had met with the ‘top members’ of the National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT).
Joseph, a former President of the NCOPT himself, also disclosed that he held a community meeting with residents of Belair to discuss the bus drivers protest.
“Some level of dialogue could have averted the actions undertaken,” he declared.
He disclosed that he had indicated to at least one member of the Millet Minibus Drivers Association with whom he had lengthy dialogue, that discussion could have clarified the situation.
Joseph said his information was that the association had written to the Ministry of Infrastructure and copied the letter to him.
“I have not seen this letter at the time that it was sent because I would have been out of the Island most likely at the time that the letter was sent,” Joseph, who is Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation explained.
He revealed that there is a plan for the complete rehabilitation of the Belair road.
“I made it very clear to the members of the community that I agree that the road is in a very bad condition, so I have not even condemned the action undertaken by the minibus association,” Joseph told reporters.
He said at the level of his constituency, a shuttle service has been organised to assist people to get from the areas not being services by the bus drivers to the main road.
Joseph explained that the service provided by the minibus association is not even a regular one to the community.
“When I met with residents of the community – there are just three buses that service the area on a morning and each of the buses makes two trips,” he noted.
“So from 9.30 thereabouts anybody who generally needs to get a bus from the Belair community would have to walk to the main road in order to get access to a bus,” the MP stated.
He disclosed that what was highlighted at the community meeting with residents was that they are required to pay extra to go to Belair.
“So if they board a bus in Castries – now if Belair is part of the route of the association then it is illegal to charge additional fees,” Joseph asserted.
He said the issue formed part of his discussion with the NCOPT and efforts are being made to resolve the problem.