Bus Association unhappy with cabinet shake-upPOSTED: 07/16/15 5:07 PM
President of the Dutch St. Maarten United Bus Drivers Association Alexis Williams. Photo Today / Andrew Dick
GREAT BAY-The Dutch St. Maarten United Bus Drivers Association is not happy with the upcoming change at the Ministry of Transportation. The expected shake up in the Council of Ministers will move Minister Claret Connor to the Vromi-ministry. President Alexis Williams told this newspaper that there are pressing issues to deal with in the transportation sector and changing the guard now sets back the progress.
The Ministry of Transportation is presently working on the transportation policy expected to be presented to parliament next year for approval. “The new minister will have to get his or her feet wet by meeting once again with the stakeholders involved and get the information firsthand about the bottle necks in the sector. We have an issue now that needs urgent attention; bus drivers have no protection on the Dutch side as far as illegal drivers are concerned. It is like they can just get a bus and drive on the road without a license or permit.”
The French side has made several changes to its policies making it impossible to operate on that part of the island unless you go through the new regulations.
There is a need for frequent controls Williams said. “With a new minister, we need to meet again and explain our urgent issues again. We will try meet with the new minister as soon as possible to get him up to speed,” Williams said yesterday.
During a previous meeting with Minister Connor and transportation stakeholders, several taxi and bus drivers asked what would happen to the work done by Minister Connor if he does not hold the transportation portfolio anymore. The minister answered “that the work would continue however every person is different and if the new minister does not agree with the way I was handling it, then he or she can change it.”
Williams met with Minister Connor earlier this year and is eagerly awaiting the changes promised to his bus association in the new policy next year. Whether the change of ministers will change the promises made by Connor remains to be seen, Williams said. He remains however optimistic about anybody taking up the portfolio and working in the best interest of the country. The new minister is expected to be sworn in after the summer according to a statement UP faction leader Franklin Meyers made in an interview with Oral Gibbes.