Taxi drivers and residents in communities from Cedros to South Oropouche staged a “drive slow” motorcade and fiery protests simultaneously yesterday, as they called on the authorities to fix the roads.
Point Fortin Taxi Drivers’ Association president John David complained, “The protests and the drive slow is about the road condition. The whole of the south western peninsular is in a mess, the road is bad.”
Noting that the highway from San Fernando to Point Fortin has been under construction for over a decade, he said some parts are finished and should be accessible to taxi drivers.
David is demanding proper maintenance of the roads, particularly in La Brea. He added that for the most part, they usually spent over $4,000 to repair their vehicles.
With several taxi drivers now using CNG, he said they have to go to San Fernando to get CNG because there is no supply in Point Fortin.
Another taxi driver, Clive Bernard, complained that during the motorcade, his tyre went into a pothole at Vessigny and his colleagues had to lift his van out.
“During our peaceful protest, with the police humbugging us where we could not carry out peaceful protest, a car end up giving me a bad drive and I had no other means but to pull away from the car. The police pulling the cars to come and they force me to go down in this hole, nearly three-quarters of my wheel was in the hole and the back of my van was up in the air,” Bernard complained.
Arthur Lewis, a resident, also claimed he was standing on the side of the road with a stick in his hand, supporting the drivers, when three officers verbally and physically assaulted him. He intends to lodge a report at the Police Complaints Authority.
La Brea Taxi Drivers’ Association president Sheldon Fernandez also complained, “When we taxi drivers raise the fees because of the conditions of the roads, because it costing us expense every week, I not exaggerating, people will vex...but what can we do. We have to fix the car to transport you all. We really fed up with the conditions of the road and we want the authorities to do something.”
He said they have made several complaints over the years but nothing has been done.
Supporting the drivers, Cedros councillor Shankar Teelucksingh said the fishermen in the Cedros area we also suffering due to a lack of fuel.
“Due to three landslides along the 96 km along Chatham Main Road to Cedros, we have a lot of restrictions where a lot of goods services cannot pass through that landslide,” he said.
Declaring that enough is enough, he said if by today there is no feedback from the various agencies, he is supporting further action by the drivers and residents.