Vieux Fort bus drivers Wednesday afternoon staged a strike after an incident in which they say a colleague of their ‘defended’ himself after a police officer in plain clothes ‘rushed’ him.
Police Commissioner, Severin Moncherry, has issued a statement to St Lucia Times on the matter.
According to driver Amorson Dilsuk, a bus driver was attempting to join the queue while a motor car was passing at the same time.
“He asked the car to move back so the bus can go to the queue but the car refused,” Dilsuk told St Lucia Times.
According to Dilsuk, the car was being driven by a police officer who was not in uniform.
But he explained that the bus driver was not aware that the man is an officer.
Dilsuk said words were exchanged between the two.
He recalled that the officer came out of his vehicle and ‘rushed’ to the bus driver who ‘defended’ himself, upon which another officer intervened and arrested the bus driver.
Dilsuk said other drivers went to the CID office in relation to the incident and were directed to the office of the Commissioner of Police, where they were told that the bus driver who was arrested would be released.
But he indicated that until their colleague is released, the drivers will continue to withhold their services.
Another bus driver who spoke to St Lucia Times on condition of anonymity denied that the Vieux Fort bus drivers are on strike.
According to that driver, because of the lengthy commute between Castries and Vieux Fort the drivers were taking a rest in order to rejuvenate.
He asserted, in tongue in cheek fashion, that the drivers, mindful of the safety and comfort of passengers, did not want to transport them when they are tired.
Police Commissioner Severin Moncherry in a statement to St Lucia Times said that from reports reaching him, there was an incident involving a police officer and a minibus driver on the Castries to Vieux Fort route.
Moncherry said he could not disclose the details because the matter is under investigation.
He said the incident resulted in the bus driver being arrested by the police officer.
“Immediately thereafter the minibus drivers from the 2H put down their tools and decided that they were taking strike action,” the Police Chief disclosed.
He told St Lucia Times that a few of the drivers went to police headquarters and demanded to meet him.
“What I indicated to my Press Officer who was the one they asked to see me was that I was not prepared to met them under duress. I had no problem meeting with the executive of the association, but I was not going to do so under duress. If they wanted to see me they would have to go back to work and then we could have a discussion to see how we could deal with the matter,” Moncherry told St Lucia Times.
“The President spoke to them; they went back to work. I have since handed over the matter to Mr. Desir to deal with,” the Police Commissioner revealed.
He told St Lucia Times that the reason for that is that in the event there is found to be any breach of discipline by the police officer, he as Commissioner would have to deal with it.
Earlier this year a controversy erupted after a female police officer with a drawn firearm was shown in a viral video in a confrontation with a bus driver.
In announcing later that the matter had been resolved, Deputy Police Commissioner Milton Desir said at the time that except for CCTV that would cover everything that happens, other video recordings are sometimes ‘selective’.
“Persons would put out what they want people to see. But there are things that would have happened before, during, after – which we do not see. So we see one part and try to form a conclusion based on what we see,” Desir had told St Lucia Times.