The Road Traffic Bill goes to the Senate today, Friday November 23, for debate following days of protest by taxi drivers in sections of the country. However, it is not yet clear what position will be taken by the Opposition who met with transport operators Thursday, ahead of today’s Senate session.
Between Monday and yesterday, Thursday, some taxi operators protested against sections of the Bill. They have staged roadblocks and have withdrawn service in several parishes.
In a statement about the meeting between senior members of the People’s National Party (PNP), led by party President Dr. Peter Phillips, Thursday, the party said the transport representatives with whom it met cited certain clauses in the new bill and said they were strongly opposed to owners paying for driver tickets. They also raised a number of other concerns, including fares and the lack of parking areas in the city, consequent on the addition of new licensees to the system.
The transport operators also requested that Senate passage of the bill be delayed to provide them with time to present alternatives to the government.
According to a PNP release, Opposition Leader Dr. Phillips noted that the Bill had implications for many sectors including, public transport, rent-a-car, automotive repair, public utilities, distribution and other commercial services as well as the government itself. He said it is important to provide an opportunity for discussion, although this did not mean the Bill would not be passed.
The Opposition Leader said he believed the law should not be oppressive, but cautioned the transport operators that while it was their decision to protest it was important that their action does not penalize the public.
If the Bill is passed in the Senate today it could be signed into law by the end of the year.