With general elections around the corner, at least one local political party is promising to answer the cry of owners of privately operated public service vehicles (PSV) for duty-free concessions on spare parts for their vehicles.
United Progressive Party (UPP) candidate for St John Hudson Griffith issued the promise during a spot meeting at Rendevous Gardens on Friday night, at which he outlined the party’s plan for revitalizing Barbados’ ailing transport sector.
Griffith told the small gathering that if elected, the ten-month-old UPP would immediately get to work on restoring balance to sector, with the first phase of action focused on reversing the fortunes of the state-run Transport Board, whose accumulated losses over the past seven years have been estimated at over $250 million.
“In the second phase of our plan, all privately owned Transport Board buses will now have duty free concessions on parts. So I am giving them a level playing field across the sector,” Griffith said, while stressing that the “first function is to stop the haemorrhage of subsidies from Government coffers”.
Ahead of the elections which are constitutionally due by June next year, private operators have already issued a strong word of warning to the political parties that their approximately 7,000 votes will not be given away cheaply this time around, with President of the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO) Morris Lee complaining to Barbados TODAY that neither the incumbent Democratic Labour Party nor the main Opposition Barbados Labour Party had delivered on the promises made in the past.
In an obvious appeal to this disenchanted segment of the electorate, the UPP is therefore promising to deal frontally with the issue of concessions as part of its transportation plan which it says should redound to a more reliable national bus service overall.
“Vendors would be able sell bus tickets in the same manner they sell cell phone top-ups, generating a new layer of income for shop owners. In order to support to new 24-hour economy that the United Progressive Party is promoting we want buses to run up to 3 a.m. We want to bring back the days when persons could set their watch by the time the bus passes their stop,” Griffith said, while promising to accomplish these goals without raising taxes.