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NOBA issues ultimatum to government on road conditions

NOBA issues ultimatum to government on road conditions

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Strike action by minibuses operating in the Gomea and Belair area may be on the horizon, if Government does not accede to an ultimatum that has been issued by the National Omnibus Association (NOBA).

NOBA’s president, Anthony ‘Code Red’ Bacchus has threatened that if no government {{more}}official is in attendance at a meeting of association called to discuss road conditions this Sunday, they will withdraw their services the following day, Monday, February 16.

“We came to a decision that if we don’t hear anything from the government by Sunday at our meeting as regards what they are going to do about the roads, the drivers in the area will have to strike,” he said.

The meeting will be held opposite the Belair Government School at 3 p.m.

“We expect to have a government official there. If they don’t come, that means they don’t care… All the drivers and residents of these areas have been complaining sometime now about the situation,” Bacchus stated.

According to Bacchus, who is also a minibus operator, the association sent a letter to minister of state in the ministry of transport and works Julian Francis on Monday, informing him about the meeting, but they have yet to receive an official response.

“Nobody has called or anything. The roads are really bad in these areas. We are calling a meeting to discuss whether to withdraw service or how to move forward. We do not want another incident like the Rock Gutter tragedy… we [are] begging them to come and assist with the roads,” Bacchus added.

SEARCHLIGHT also spoke with two van drivers who operate these routes.

According to Leroy ‘Sticky’ Farrell, the roads in the area have been deteriorating at a rapid pace for approximately six years.

“No matter how much effort we make to get them fixed, we not getting them fixed. Right now we trying our best to see what we can get accomplished from the government,” he stated.

He noted that there are areas that he considers dangerous to travel because of the many potholes on both sides of the road.

“We want to try to get the roads fixed. We need to get an answer by at least Friday, [February 13]. If we they don’t do anything, we are ready for Monday,” Farrell stated.

Travis Huggins also expressed similar sentiments to Farrell, adding that it is proving costly to operate his van under such conditions.

“This has been going on for about two years now. I have to keep changing shocks, rubbers and wheel bearings all thing. My clutch finished in the bad road around there. I am up for the strike action. If we ain’t see any satisfaction then we will have to do it,” Huggins told SEARCHLIGHT.

However, in an interview yesterday, Minister Julian Francis said while he has heard about the situation, he has not personally seen the letter.

“I’ll check my secretary and see if a letter is there. I am willing to meet with the minibus association at anytime… I have not been to my office this morning. I have been in my office all week, but I haven’t seen that letter. As soon as I get it, if it’s anything that I should respond to, I will respond to it,” he said.

Francis said he has worked amicably with NOBA and has never had a problem dealing with them.

“So if they want me at a meeting on Sunday, I will be there,” he said.