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Out of line

Not lashley's call, says lee

Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Lashley, has no power to determine whether public service vehicles (PSVs) can raise bus fares or be allowed duty-free concessions.

So says interim Chairman of the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO), Morris Lee, who has suggested that only the Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, can authorize such requests.

Following a five-hour meeting with private PSV operators last Friday, Lashley turned down their requests for an increase in bus fares, as well as for duty-free concessions.

However, in an interview with Barbados TODAY this morning, Lee insisted that it was outside of his jurisdiction to make a ruling on such matters.

“The Minister of Transport is in no position to make a statement on bus fares or duty-free concessions because he is not the Minister of Finance and at the time that he was making those comments, he was not in the position of acting as Minister of Finance,” Lee said.

“Therefore, issues like bus fares and duty-free concessions fall far out of the reach of the Minister of Transport. So what we have come away with is perhaps the Minister’s personal position or the Minister’s position if he was asked to vote if Cabinet was making a decision on the issue,” Lee pointed out.

“If you want to find out what is Government’s position on bus fares and duty-free concessions, Chris Sinckler is the person to ask for that, not Michael Lashley. It is not his job.”

He even went so far as to suggest that the article which appeared on the front page of a local newspaper “be withdrawn.”

The APTO chairman revealed that following an unsuccessful appeal to Sinckler some time ago to implement those changes, they would be making another attempt to convince him to do so.

He said the major difference now was that PSV’s were no longer entitled to duty-free diesel.

“We approached him [Sinckler] already. We didn’t get it then, but we are going to go back to him to get him to review it,” Lee insisted.

“Remember, one of the reasons why we didn’t get duty-free when we asked Sinckler, was because we were getting the diesel duty-free at the Transport Board. They stopped that, so the price gone back up in the air, but the Transport Board is still getting it I am told.

“So here it is that Transport Board is getting duty-free buses and duty-free diesel and a subsidy from Government. Yet we working for $2 and we can’t get nothing. So tell me how level the pasture is?” he asked.

To make matters worse, Lee said, was the fact that among the businesses which owned buses including the state-owned Transport Board, tour companies, ZM’s and limousines, PSV’s were the only group not granted duty-free concessions.

“Minibus and ZR’s are the only category that don’t get duty-free,” he argued.

Lee contended that the discussion on whether or not they should be granted these requests ought to be properly analyzed and debated properly.

He said while Simpson Motors was currently selling a minibus for close to $250,000, a duty-free bus could be imported into the island for less than $80,000.

13 Responses to Out of line

  1. Michelle Stephens
    Michelle Stephens September 24, 2015 at 2:11 am


  2. Ken September 24, 2015 at 6:33 am

    If Morris Lee holds the position that minister Lashley doesn’t have the power to effect bus fare rates why did his association put that option on the table when they requested a meeting with him? Have you guys moved from being presumed silly to proving that you truly are?

    • lee September 24, 2015 at 10:11 pm

      To Ken. Sir, APTO NEVER put those issues related to bus fares and duty free concessions on the table. Its within your right to presume Sir!!!

    • lee September 25, 2015 at 1:31 am

      Dear Ken APTO NEVER discussed rates or concessions with our minister We know better than that. Those issues reside within the corridors of the Ministry of Finance. Minister Lashley can propose or suggest, but the ultimate decision rests at Bay Street. Can you tell the readers who wrote off $19M for the turf club or who extended 40 years of duty free concessions to non nationals that may outlive us?? But then again you may own horse or hotel or both “presumably”

  3. jrsmith September 24, 2015 at 9:43 am

    PSV want concessions, what are they going to offer to the travelling bajan public. a better behave and more discipline responsible service is a start.,

  4. Olutoye Walrond September 24, 2015 at 10:56 am

    So they don’t get subsidiezed fares, fuel nor vehicles like some of the other players in the market, and yet they can’t set their own rates.

    And again I ask: how does the government become involved in setting the fees of private sole traders? This service is not a monopoly nor a utility.

    Who sets the fees of artisans and professionals? Not the government.

    A mini-bus for 250 thousand dollars! What is that powered by? Rolls royce engines?

  5. Sue Donym September 24, 2015 at 10:56 am

    I suspect that it would be more accurate to conclude that Mr Lee et al would have raised the issues of bus fares and duty free concessions in the context of the factors affecting their operations. To that extent they are transport issues. Mr Lee shows his understanding of the protocols by stating that the Finance minister makes the decision, but Mr Lashley has a vote. It was probably a wise move to put a case to Mr Lashley so that cabinet has an idea of the operators’ perspective.

  6. Patrick Blackman September 24, 2015 at 11:06 am

    PSV cannot be really serious in their thinking. They need to be permanently removed from the transit system as soon as the Transport Board can manage to get its act together. There is an ingrained mentality in this group that just isn’t going to change. They represent a clear and ever present danger to commuters.

    • Sue Donym September 24, 2015 at 11:56 am

      @Patrick you’re nothing if not consistent on this. Can you not see that in the same way as constant attention needs to be paid to detection and prevention and punishment in other areas, it’s going to happen in this sector? This is where I call on gov’t to do their part, rather than contribute to the chaos. Commit the effort to develop and maintain a relevant, efficient transportation system and embrace the responsibility to keep it clean.

  7. dave September 24, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Patrick , Patrick Patrick -I do dis-agree with you –
    I do not agree with you

    We need the PSVs . We need to enforce the Law -thats all
    The Government has FAILED !!!

  8. jrsmith September 24, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Is it ,that bajans is expecting too much , first from lawless drivers and as far I am aware , that possibility, the law makers are also some owners of these said vehicles. I am welcoming to be put right on this point.
    We in Barbados always , had private concessioners in the transport system, remember, boston, the general, the diamond, these were responsible , respectable , bajan owners, but we were not scared to ride on those buses then, although there was the odd accident, every issue in Barbados , now seems to be warranting a public inquiry why.

  9. Patrick Blackman September 24, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    @Sue Donym

    Believe me I agree with everything you have said now and in the past when we had the incident in the terminal a few months ago however, I would never support any transit system that included these guys, sorry, they are just irresponsible individuals. B’dos is a very small place, why do we need a multi-level transit system? Is it just to provide employment for these workers or is it to have a dependable transit system that is based on a schedule.

    We are a tourism based economy where most of our arrivals are from North America, UK and to some extent Europe where these guys are accustomed to a certain quality of transit services ( I know we don’t have resources to have the same quality services), we should at least try to have one that is consistent in service standards.

    You cannot have a system where remuneration is based on commission ( owner get his piece and rest is mine), this just results in chaos on the roads. Look at how they are talking about the fines their workers get as oppose to cleaning up their behaviour. If they have not been able to rectify this nonsense in the past 30 years I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

  10. Henderson September 25, 2015 at 7:32 am

    The Transport Board is providing a social service to the Public and was never expected to show a profit. The PSV owners got into the business for a profit. As with any other business, close if your business not showing a profit. Who did their Business Plan?


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