Although the actual percentages are still to be finalized, the United Progressive Party (UPP) is crying shame on the Mia Mottley-led Government for its decision to increase bus fares.
In a statement released this morning, UPP’ s public relations officer Wayne Griffith charged that Government was essentially piling further hardship on the already overburdened bottom tier of Barbadian society.
“All Members of Parliament can hang their head in shame for endorsing this proposed burden on the already suffering average citizen. Since coming to office the Mottley administration has only given Barbadians increased taxation resulting in a higher cost of living. Such an increase will place yet another massive burden on the poorest,” said Griffith, who charged that many of those to be hardest hit have just been laid off by this Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration.
During the House Estimates Debate yesterday, Minister of Transport Dr William Duguid, said that commuters would soon have to pay higher fares to ride on public and private transportation.
Contending that the current fare of $2 charged by the Transport Board and public service vehicles (PSVs) is inadequate Duguid pointed out that while an increase was coming it was yet to be determined by how much those fares would be raised.
However the UPP has asserted that Government had less choice in the matter than they were letting on.
“The conditions associated with International Monetary Fund-endorsed economic recovery programmes always include a component of staff cuts in the public service and bus fare adjustments. So the intention to implement an increase in [bus] fares comes as no surprise to the United Progressive Party,” Griffith argued.
The party spokesman contended that such a critical service should not have become a casualty of any structural adjustment programme, adding that increased fares will not help the country’s economic woes.
“Public transportation is considered a critical service in every country, including Barbados. The cycle of economic deterioration cannot be remedied in any way by inflicting additional costs on our people,” he said.
Griffith further argued, “The government still has not identified measures to grow and improve our economic conditions, which is actually the solution to the woes of the nation. The loans, which have been signed off thus far, have only served to plug the leaks but not build measurable capacity. This scorched earth approach to reducing deficit where the poorest are suffering the most augurs ill for national development.”