After agreeing on several plans going forward for their safety, bus operators in St. Kitts have expressed satisfaction, to date, with what they have seen put in place thus far, after the brutal murder of one of their own on 1st November.
A heighten Police presence at bus terminals, patrols along the island’s main road, and in dark areas within several communities, have made a number of drivers happy.
This was echoed by President of the St Kitts Bus Association and the West line Association, Dale Hughes, during a recent telephone interview with MiyVue.com.
Speaking exclusively with MiyVue.com, Hughes explained that after the meeting with officials from the Transport Ministry, high ranking officials from the Police Force and bus drivers, what they have seen in place on short note, is encouraging to them.
He noted that what is more encouraging is that they have seen the Police Commissioner also making trips in the evening, and speaking with drivers about their safety and those of passengers, which has brought a lot of appreciation from operators.
“I must say that I have seen police patrols along the island’s main road, and I have been told by a bus driver… that when he was shuffling passengers he was pulled over by a police vehicle with hazard lights and to his surprise it was the Commissioner himself and he was with two other officers.”
On that note, Hughes said the Commissioner’s presence was heartening to the passengers and the drivers and the associations are happy for that action. He gave further insight into the interaction between the commissioner and the bus operator.
“He (the Commissioner) asked about how he (the driver) was doing; if the passengers were safe and he said he felt warm. Because in the meeting with the officials, three of the police top brass were there… and I told them that I don’t just want to see the police moving back and forth. We want this thing to be a ‘we thing’, come by the bus door, and make some friendly statements to passengers indicating what they are doing and what’s not,” remarked the president.
However, Hughes is calling on the Ministry to have the Transport Board operational since that is one of the hurdles they face in their daily operations.
“One of the most important things to me is the Transport Board, that’s a body that is supposed to be in place to do all the negotiations in relations to the way we conduct our business and that Board to my knowledge has not been run. When I assumed the presidency of the association I didn’t meet any Board.”
He added that the board has been non-existent for more than 12 years, stressing that it was one of the major topics up for discussions when they met with officials recently and it will come up again when they meet.
“First, you cannot push anything above the loss of a life; lights and next to that was the Board and like I told them I don’t want to mix bitter with sweet… I told them let us deal with what is on the table right now.”
Another meeting is scheduled for Tuesday (11th November), with officials from the Transportation Ministry, the Police Force and Drivers along with their respective Associations.