No need to import buses

Why import small buses for the Transport Board when the expertise to build them is right here in Barbados?

That is the question the managing director of L&N Workshop Inc, Norman Edwards, is asking on the heels of the announcement by Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley that consideration is being given to importing the vehicles for short haul routes, through a local dealership.

He said under a business arrangement between his company and Isuzu of Japan, bus bodies could be manufactured here for both the public and the private transport sectors.

“We have the expertise to do the job. My company currently provides employment for 50 workers and we are encouraged to buy local, yet the minister is thinking about providing jobs for a foreign country,” Edwards told Barbados TODAY during an interview at his company’s Cane Garden, St Thomas headquarters.

“If we are awarded a contract to manufacture buses it automatically means that we would have to employ an additional 25 workers. It must be remembered that this would be in the initial stages, but we may have to employ another ten to 15 workers as the work progresses.”

Explaining that his company has been manufacturing bus bodies for the past five years, Edwards said the regional manager of Isuzu was very impressed by the work done by L&N.

He noted that officials from the Japanese firm visit the company once or twice a year to ensure the high standard is maintained.

“Isuzu has an image to protect and it is worldwide brand . . . . They want to ensure that if a product is going to carry the Isuzu name it must maintain high quality. We have been recommended to build buses throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. We were even asked if we can build left handed buses by Isuzu officials,” Edwards said, adding that his company has also built Isuzu vehicles for the Barbados Water Authority, the Diabetes Association of Barbados and the HIV/AIDS Commission.

Edwards told Barbados TODAY that officials from the Transport Board carried out a test drive of the Isuzu buses and they were impressed with the quality of the vehicles and the workmanship.

One of the vehicles at L&N Workshop.
One of the vehicles at L&N Workshop.

He did acknowledge, however, that buses manufactured by his company might have a higher price tag, but gave the assurance it was good value for money.

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8 Responses to No need to import buses

  1. Edwards Swindley
    Edwards Swindley September 17, 2014 at 8:22 am


  2. Chris Kinkaid
    Chris Kinkaid September 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I’m assuming that having admitted the higher price tag on the buses you made a solid case for tax concessions which could result in lower cost. I’m also assuming you made a case for after sale service and maintenance, with a quick turn around if a vehicle were to be sent in for service or repair, and that you will have an adequate supply of spares.

  3. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder September 17, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    OK good point,but we don’t need more buses we need better roads first don’t work backwards let’s go forward….

  4. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder September 17, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    An give PVS some the work government needs to show they got what it takes,to repair its lost if they are to recreate a stronger economy for this little island,government buses only full at rush hour times morning an after work,in-between them times they or not that much people using bus park an stop work d buses so hard give the other shuttle buses some the work so they not trying to rush to make 2$ an putting people living life on a small island at risk,just a idea of looking at it a different way..

  5. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner September 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Listen if building buses in Barbados gine create jobs for Bajans im all for it,home drums beat first,when everything is consider importing these said buses can’t be much cheaper.

  6. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce September 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Expertise to make Box Carts.

  7. Tom Fountain September 18, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    The local buses are well made and can do the job. When comparing price tags, factor in the contribution to the local economy through employment, tax, faster repairs (less buses not working due to waiting on parts), knock-on businesses and such like. I’m certain the local solution would be much cheaper than any “cheap” import! Furthermore the higher volume production would reduce the price and offer potential export opportunities.


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