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NOBA UPDATE: Strike enters 3rd day with no end in sight

NOBA UPDATE: Strike enters 3rd day with no end in sight

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Friday Sep 22, 2006 – 3 pm update

Buses remained off the route for the third straight day in St Vincent and the Grenadines as they protest for higher rates.

This afternoon striking members of the National Omni Buses Association (NOBA) rallied in Heritage Square as a show of force.

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An offer from the Chamber of Commerce to mediate was accepted by the government but NOBA was yet to respond.

Chairman of the Chamber Martin Bollers told SEARCHLIGHT that his organisation was ready to be a fair and independent mediator. As for the strike’s impact on its members Bollers said the worse report came from a supermarket that reported only a 20 per cent workers turnout today.

The Government has already accepted the Chamber of Commerce’s offer.

Persons sympathetic to the cause of NOBA begun to pledge financial support to them. During a two-hour radio programme last night, persons pledged more than $3000 to the association. The money is to be used to assist mini bus operators who are staying the course with the strike action.

After the initial call to strike on Wednesday NOBA saw a cooling of the heat on Thursday as the financial impact of not working broke the back of several of their comrades. The executive waged a public relations campaign targeting its members and Len Grant, Public Relations Officer for the association believes that they have picked up more support for today’s resistance.

NOBA is continuing its resistance of Government’s offer of a fuel subsidy against that of a fare increase. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said that his Government’s stance is in the interest of the poor and working class persons while NOBA is now claiming some support from the same “poor and working class”.

The Opposition National Democratic Party said that the government was being hypocritical by allowing rate increases to the lone power company and the fuel dealers not to the minibus operators.

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