– police report more road blocking at Letter ‘T’ Estate
Minibus drivers, owners and conductors plying the route 50, Georgetown to New Amsterdam, yesterday moved their demonstration to the city. Just around lunch yesterday they converged at the Square of the Revolution. Social activist Mark Benschop and Columnist Freddie Kissoon joined the operators in the peaceful protest.
The minibus operators are up in arms against the 56 zone which was recently implemented.
One minibus owner Andrew Benson said the new zone is restricting them and more so, gravely affecting their daily income. Benson went on to explain that for many years they were allowed to ply their trade from Georgetown to New Amsterdam but now they are only allowed to go to Rosignol.
He added that they were told that only the route 56 minibuses are allowed to cross the bridge to take passengers from Rosignol to New Amsterdam, and if they are caught doing same they will be placed before the court and charged. According to the law, a driver caught out of his zone can be charged for breach of Road Service licence.
Meanwhile, another operator stated that since the implementation of the new zone the flow of passengers has been significantly disrupted.
“When we got to go and park up at Rosignol we losing out…because now dat passengers got to come to Rosignol to get a minibus going to town, they refusing to come to Rosignol, instead dey taking de car and go straight over to Georgetown.”
The operators all stressed that they have families to maintain and the minibus operation has been their main source of income. The drivers said that they will continue to protest peacefully until there is some amicable solution.
They expressed that before the new zone was implemented they were not consulted but they were of the opinion that their services would in no way be affected.
“All these people tell we is that the 56 buses replacing de ferry service.”
Yesterday’s protest action was also taken outside the Office of the President.
On Monday last some angry minibus operators staged a demonstration near the Abary Bridge. Several trees were cut down and placed across the road, leaving a large traffic build-up for almost an hour. However the police were summoned to the area and the situation was quickly brought under control. However one person was arrested after law enforcement officers received information that the young man was among the group that assisted in cutting the trees and placing them across the road.
In addition, a letter which was penned to the Ministry of Public Work Robeson Benn by the Secretary of the New Amsterdam-Georgetown minibus association was given to this publication. The letter sought to highlight some issues affecting the minibus operators.
Among these are; 80 % of the traveling public in the area have to cross the river, the route 50 buses seldom bring enough passengers traveling to Georgetown at any one time thus they take a long time to fill.
Another issue raised since the implementation of the new zone; the buses were unable to operate as they should, resulting in the owners not being able to raise enough money to pay the installments for their minibus. Thus the operators are calling on the Minister to allow them to operate according to what is on their Road Service licence.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Police Force in a release issued last evening, indicated that following Monday’s protest action between Plantation Profit and No. 5 Village, West Coast Berbice, another set of route 50 drivers yesterday blocked the East Coast Public Road in the vicinity of Letter ‘T’ Estate with their vehicles, fallen trees and other debris. According to the police statement, ranks from ‘B’ Division, ‘C’ Division and the Tactical Services Unit, cleared the roadway allowing for the free flow of traffic.
The perpetrators, upon seeing the police, reportedly fled to West Berbice. Some of them, according to the release have been identified and will be pursued with a view of having them arrested and arraigned.
There was one report of damage to property, according to the police.
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