by Donella Hosten
Grand Anse bus operators engaged in a protest on Tuesday, calling for the removal of Magistrate Jerry Seales from the Traffic Court, and for reasonable judgments from the court.
The blocked roads and tight traffic resulted in a number of persons not being able to make it into work/school on time. The route was laden with police officers trying to control the traffic situation, and to ensure the protest was peaceful.
Some members of the public have expressed their solidarity with the bus operators claiming that they ought to be treated fairly and respectfully, while others have voiced their disapproval with the protest.
One lady who lives in the parish of St David and works in the Grand Anse area, said she stands fully with the bus operators, because her husband is a bus driver and he has been “victimised by Magistrate Seales on more than one occasion.”
Another young woman stated this strike makes no sense, because “these busmen will continue to do the same things they are being ticketed for,” and she agrees with the judgments handed down to them.
The bus operators plying the Grand Anse to St George’s route gathered in their numbers at Camerhogne Park at Morne Rouge, where they held a meeting about their actions going forward. They have decided to continue with the strike action until they meet with the necessary authorities and get their satisfaction. Bus operators on other routes in Grenada have decided to join the protest with the Grand Anse operators.
Mr Roger Telesford, President of the Grand Anse Bus Association, stated that the Transportation Board has refused to meet with the Association. He spoke briefly about the issue of having too many buses on the Grand Anse route, saying suggestions have been made to send buses to other routes, however, these suggestions have not been taken into consideration. Mr Telesford said within a 4-month period there have been more than 40 new buses added to the Grand Anse/St George’s route.
Telesford spoke to the issue of drivers’ licences being revoked and other bus drivers being sent to Prison, even on their first offence. He suggested that they bring back the numeric points system, because as it is now, “the system is drastic.”
President of the Grenada Bar Association, Mrs Anande Trotman–Joseph, who has been made aware of the reason for the protest, said she will not make any comments regarding the removal of Magistrate Seales. However, she did say Magistrate Seales can only be removed by the Judicial Legal Service Commission (JLSC), which is headquartered in St Lucia.
The issue as to whether or not Magistrate Seales has been acting within the confines of the Law, is a much debated one. Some Police Officers have said that he is working within the Law and there is nothing wrong with what he is doing, because some of these operators have to be taught a lesson.
The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has appealed to those involved in the strike to uphold the Laws, rules and regulations governing the use of the nation’s roads. A release sent out by the RGPF states that they have met with the Transportation Board, and the Ministry of Works and Communications to bring a speedy resolution the the existing situation.
A meeting is pending with the Bus Association to attempt address their concerns an amicable manner.