Sell the loss-making Transport Board, suggests Opposition spokesman

With the economy as it stands, an Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) spokesman last night returned to the vexed issue of privatization, while suggesting that the state-run Transport Board should be sold.

Delivering the Eighth Tom Adams Memorial Lecture at the Barbados Workers’ Union headquarters last night, the BLP’s Christ Church East Central candidate Ryan Straughn warned that the island’s social and economic conditions had changed significantly since 1976 when Adams, as prime minister, had paired licensing of individually owned public transportation service with the existing state-run bus service.

“Today there are more than 100,000 private vehicles in Barbados and such accessibility is no longer an issue as it was in 1976,” the economist said, while emphasizing the need for divestment of the loss-making national bus service.

“I ask Barbados when will we recognize that the Government of Barbados does not have to own a bus to deliver subsidized fares for any of its citizens?” the former Central Bank economist asked, while suggesting that in a 21st century Barbados, Government’s role should be that of a strong regulator and not owner of public transportation.

It was the clearest statement from the BLP on the issue of privatization since it campaigned heavily on the issue back in 2013 and lost against the incumbent Democratic Labour Party which has so far been shying away from any serious divestment discussions.

However, while suggesting that the economy was at its lowest ebb and that the Transport Board was currently operating as a burden to the state, Straughn, who is currently a private financial consultant, contended that divestment “would provide much higher value for money for you the taxpayer, than if we continue with the current system as is”.

“Our transportation system is in desperate need of an upgrade, and if we’re to move to a 24-hour economy we must tackle this head on,” he stressed.

During the lecture, Straughn was full of praise for the late BLP leader Adams, saying his introduction of the ABC highway had opened Barbados to much more rapid social and economic development, “notwithstanding the current condition of our highways with craters and potholes competing for space, temporary inconveniences in some circles”.

While taking an obvious jab at Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, he suggested that it was time to build on Adams’ vision for Barbados.

“If physical infrastructural improvements are required, whether fly overs, bridges, tunnels, let us get them done and move on to the next problem.

“If we must toll the infrastructure to finance their cost or for maintenance then let’s do it so that taxpayers can commute to and from work, leisure or business with confidence,” he added.

19 Responses to Sell the loss-making Transport Board, suggests Opposition spokesman

  1. Mark My Word October 12, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Sell Transport Board, sell the BLP to the UPP also, Lynette and Maria will do a better job

    • Jennifer October 12, 2017 at 11:36 pm

      Now you see what we are up against and in that pipeline. And the NRSL ain’t going no where either – info for the docile sleeping lot. If you lot was not so busy propping up them business with much concessions then you could have concentrated on the bus service. And all of this vehicles talk!!!! have you gone to the bus terminal an evening in rush hour???? and where is your evidence or study/survey???

  2. Kevin October 12, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Sell it to who? Thats the question.

    • Jennifer October 12, 2017 at 11:44 pm

      Don’t worry they got some contestants.

  3. Carson C Cadogan October 13, 2017 at 12:12 am

    That is what the INDIANS of Barbados are waiting for. But it is not going to happen.

  4. archy perch October 13, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Wet behind the ears.
    Being given free access to the airways at the anti-government station on River Road, to boost his credibility as a so-called economist. Can you imagine what would happen if government stops providing public transportation to all eleven parishes in this country. Does the BLP (Blind Labour Party) really care about the mobility and travels of people especially in the outlying rural areas??? Do you really think private concerns wluld do an adquate and efficient job taking over the transportation system Straughnny? SMH. Let your ears dryout so the thinking process can activate the molecules of your brain sir.

  5. The Runner October 13, 2017 at 6:35 am

    Very good lecture. He makes good sense. Government doesn’t have to own and operate busses in order to subsidize the transport system. We need to take a serious look at our transportation system and get it fixed instead of doing the same thing the same way over and over. Good article Ryan. We need some more innovative thoughts instead of people just talking trash.

  6. John Everatt October 13, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Yes, sell the Transport Board and the CBC and all the other government owned companies that is reality do not produce. The higher positions in these companies are given out as political rewards for the loyal soldiers of the party in power. The BWA, The NHC – Look at the mess. Empty housing and unfinished projects all over the island and they still want to build more new housing. SMH

  7. Everton Cumberbatch October 13, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Trowing out the baby with the bath water Ryan? The suggestion is devoid of a sense of history prior to 1977 when public transport was nationalised by the said Tom Adams. When private concessionaires often held govt and the travelling public to ransom for increased fares often disrupting production and economy.

    • Carson C Cadogan October 13, 2017 at 7:28 am

      Ryan’s address shows how little he knows.

      Is this the best that the Barbados Labour Party has to offer?????

  8. Greengiant October 13, 2017 at 9:22 am

    The last B L P administration had the perfect opportunity to sell state entities, but instead they added more to the wage bill in the form of statutory corporations. So Straughn need to sell this concept to his party, not to the people.

    The state will need to maintain a share in all the social services, so only part selling should occur, some mergers are needed, and others can be closed. This first, but the critical thing is to make them profitable prior to selling. Increase the value of the entity.

  9. Belfast October 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    TTTB- Trinidad and Tobago Transport Board (Barbados) Limited.
    ala Barbados National Bank and Insurance Corporation of Barbados, et at.

  10. Tony Webster October 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    @Green, green, giant: …”but the crucial thing is to make them profitable first. Increase the value of the entity”.

    Care to tell us exactly how; and by exactly when..and exactly who might be able to perform miracles? Why the nine-year delay in doing the obvious? Might take a new Minister…or a new Chairman …or a new General Manager….right? Now is YOUR. TIME: put up your hand, and do us all a favour/ miracle, as there’s still time to TALK about brilliant solutions “just around the corner”. Start by performing a miracle and make the C.B.C. accumulated $115M deficit disappear.
    No doubt about it: you green fuh trute.

  11. Mark Adamson October 13, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    The gravamen of the above news article shows clearly why the BLP must not EVER AGAIN be allowed by the broad masses and middle classes of this country to run this country at the highest levels.

    The BLP is proving for the umpteeth time why – despite all its constant criticisms of many of this DLP government ‘s implemented political economic and financial policies – it has yet to prove that it will do better at helping manage this country than the DLP.

    This BLP is very intellectually and politicallly backward, bankrupt, decrepit and discredited faction.

    Down with the Blasted BLP!!

  12. Mark My Word October 15, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Up with the UPP

  13. Darson October 16, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Money Talks : when Tom Changed it and introduce the mini bus Culture ,most of his top Brass owned Mini Buses , it was doomed to failure day!They paid out all the local owners of the day and introduced The Board as we know it : Dont Blame DLP, they told them it would fail ,and it has . so BlP . take your licks and please dont cry it was not me . we accept what blame from EWB
    ( the cost of stamp cant pay a mail man , but the service provided is priceless)
    make some driver into a Rent To Own and have them provide a service by route and time , give them the subsidies and keep it local .

  14. Sheron Inniss October 16, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Private what? Steupse.

    What is needed is for the school children to pay bus fare so more money would come into the Transport Board. The freeness is not free.

    Mini-buses and zrs need to be regulated; there are too many on the road. They are mostly driven by a bunch of uncouth men who have no standards. The government had to be high when they started giving out licences like they were out of style.

    Their aim in life is to further undercut the state owned entity.

    None of the two are reliable but at least there are buses on the streets at midnight.

  15. Mark My Word October 17, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Nothing is FREE Sheron

    School children don’t pay, the Tax payers pay for the school children.
    Diesel is not free
    Tyres not free
    Drivers have to be paid
    So somebody has to pay

  16. Sheron Inniss October 17, 2017 at 11:15 am

    @ Mark My Word. You need to check the last sentence of the 3rd line.


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