One of the island’s leading trade unionists has come under fire from the Transport Board for comments made during the May Day parade on Monday regarding the status of the Government-run bus system.
In condemning Minister of Housing Denis Kellman’s description of people opposed to the controversial Hyatt Centric project as enemies of the state, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Toni Moore hinted at a sinister plot to privatize the bus system.
“We must know that there seems to be a concerted attempt, a deliberate ploy to run down the fleet of buses at the Transport Board, to make way for a new privatized system to be justified but, ‘shush general secretary, don’t say anything if you are a friend of the state,’” Moore told workers gathered on Browne’s Beach for the parade.
Her comments angered the Transport Board, which responded today with a stinging rebuke of the BWU boss.
While not directly addressing the privatization charge, General Manager Sandra Forde said Moore had been notified in writing of plans to improve availability and maintain the vehicles.
Far from running down the fleet of buses the Board had increased the daily output, Forde said.
“I found Moore’s comments to be an indictment on the ability of the hardworking employees that we have at the Transport Board, particularly the drivers and the quality assurance staff,” Forde said in a paid statement.
“The Board is in talks with the Finance Ministry to buy new buses to assist with the operations. In addition, the Board has advertised publicly for a chief engineer as it works to continue engaging the expertise of responsible and knowledgeable individuals to assist in the maintenance of the more than a decade-old fleet,” the general manager said.