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Government agrees to NOBA’s request for road repairs

Government agrees to NOBA’s request for road repairs

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Commuters were yesterday able to use public transportation as usual, as prompt action by the Ministry of Transport, Works, Urban Development and Local Government stopped a proposed strike by the National Omnibus Association (NOBA).

NOBA’s planned strike was called off after the Government agreed to address immediately the van men’s request for road repairs and gave permission for them{{more}} to use the Kingstown Hill route to leave Kingstown between the hours of 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

On Monday, head of the NOBA Anthony ‘Code Red’ Bacchus said that they called off the strike after Government accepted their proposal. He said they had planned to strike yesterday, Monday, October 10, but changed their status, as they were satisfied that the Government was adhering to their demands.

A letter dated October 8 and signed by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Works Julian Francis stated that following a meeting on Monday, October 5 and subsequent correspondence by text, the Roads, Bridges and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) will continue its road repairs programme.

NOBA had asked that roads be fixed in Montrose, Monkey Hill, Largo Heights, Riley, Kilbourney, Carriere, Evesham, Mesopotamia, Richland Park, Glen, Villa Flat, Walvarou, Victoria Village, Plan Campden Park, Redemption Sharpes, Green Hill, Richmond Hill, Greiggs and Carapan.

BRAGSA has so far been able to commence and in some instances complete work on roads in East and West St George and South Central Windward, while holes have been patched on the Murray’s Village and Sally Spring Roads.

Minister Francis said in the letter that the Ministry has also selected a number of priority areas: North Windward (Chapmans and Dickson), North Central Windward (Old Road into South Rivers), South Windward (Simon), Marriaqua (LaCroix), West St George (Dalloway), East Kingstown (Arnos Vale and Plan), Central Kingstown (Lodge Village and Kingstown Park), West Kingstown (Edinboro), South Leeward (Francois and Lower Questelles), Central Leeward (Layou Cemetery Road and Barrouallie Town Streets), and North Leeward (Chateaubelair Town Streets).

“I have to emphasize that all these roads cannot be done at the same time but you will find that we will be working at all times on one or more places as weather and available equipment allow,” said Francis in the letter, adding, “I trust that this would be sufficient to satisfy you that the Government has committed itself to the repair programme and we would individually (NOBA and the government) live up to our commitment.”

In relation to the use of the Kingstown Hill route to exit Kingstown, Commissioner of Police Michael Charles, in a letter also dated October 8, gave permission for minivans to, “travel up the Frenches Gate, Town Hill public road between 4.00 and 6.00 pm.”

The use of this road is on a one-month trial basis “in the first instance,” during which the police will monitor the route.

The route will take the omnibuses up Town Hill through Cane Garden. They will turn right on the road at Ricky Hillocks’ residence, continue on the road to Sion Hill Bay and turn left to Walvaroo, then right at Courts’ storeroom and exit at Adams Brothers, Arnos Vale. The buses will be allowed use of this route after road works are completed on the Cane Garden and Walvaroo roads.

“The Ministry of Transport and Works will carry out road repairs on the Cane Garden Road in order to facilitate this exercise,” said Commissioner Charles in his letter to NOBA.

On Monday, Bacchus said that the Ministry of Works had given their word that the road works will be done. He stressed that they did not give the Ministry a stipulated time when the works should be completed.

“Once we see work going on we are alright. We did not give a time, but they have promised that they will finish the Cane Garden and Walvaroo roads in a week and then we will be able to use the proposed route over Town Hill,” said Bacchus via telephone.

The called off withdrawal of service by NOBA is one of two threats of industrial action that the Government has had to deal with in the last week.

They were, however, unable to stop the strike by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU) and Public Service Union (PSU), scheduled for today Tuesday, October 13.(LC)