(SNO) – The National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT) will be hauled before the courts by the Laborie Minibus Drivers Association (Route 4A) for what a well-placed source described as matters relating to “transparency and accountability”.
According to the source, the association has already secured the services of a lawyer to fight their case.
“Our lawyer told us we have a case,” the source told this reporter.
The situation arose after NCOPT, with the blessings of a number of its members, formed a company some years ago with a rebate the former administration had given to the drivers, through NCOPT.
The company, Combined Investment, sells tyres to the drivers for what was supposed to be a “reasonable” price. However, some drivers say on numerous occasions they had to purchase tyres elsewhere at a cheaper price elsewhere, in addition, the company on numerous occasions are short of tyres.
Since the formation of the company, minibus drivers in the southern part of the island have been complaining that they have not benefitted from their investment. A few years ago, they were only complaining in hush tones, but recently their complaints have become strident.
However, some of the drivers, who are now bitterly complaining about the manner in which the company is being managed, said when the company was first established they were in glee, expecting their investment to be a huge success.
But their rumblings of discontent have not bothered the NCOPT nor Combined Investment who are all well aware their concerns.
According to the concerned drivers, their biggest concern is the lack of transparency and accountable on the part of NCOPT as it relates to their investment. Many of them have sold their shares to other minibus drivers, who say they have regretted they bought them.
Over the past few years, a number of minibus drivers in the south have been expressing their intention to haul the NCOPT before the courts for the manner in which their business is being run, but so far, it’s only the Laborie Minibus Drivers Association that has taken such action.
According to Alexis Louisy of the Choiseul Minibus Association (Route 4E), the situation is of grave concern to him, adding that his $5,000 he invested into the business has gone to waste.
“I made a bad investment…” Louisy lamented.
He added: “We don’t know what’s happening with our investment. Nobody is telling us what’s happening… It’s three years we have not had a shareholders meeting.”
Lucius St. Helen, another minibus driver, said: “Knowing St. Lucians well I knew the business would not succeed, so I decided to sell all my shares.”
“Is Combined Investment still in existence?” another driver asked.
President of NCOPT Godfrey Ferdinand is out of the island and is expected to return next month.
In the meantime, the minibus drivers are awaiting word from the relevant authorities as to when they will be paid their next rebate which is long overdue.