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The National Association of Driving Schools (NADS) and Transport Minister Guy Joseph had a “very cordial” meeting this morning, according NADS Public Relations Officer Kingson Jean.
The meeting came three days after the association threatened “serious protest action” if their pursuit for dialogue with the government over a myriad of problems continues to be ignored.
Problems and concerns that require urgent attention, according to the association, include: abundance of examiner absences, backlog in driver’s license practical testing, understaffed system, an additional cost of $50 made to the first-time practical exam without public notice, window and a clerk for driving schools removed without notice, and officials failing on their promises to address their concerns, among other issues.
Jean said moments after St. Lucia News Online (SNO) broke the story about the association’s planned protest, the minister called and requested an urgent meeting with NADS executives on Monday, May 15 at 8:30 a.m.
At the meeting, Jean said they discussed the issues sent to the minister on previous occasions. The association had complained that three letters sent to the authorities have gone unanswered.
“We were informed that for some reason or the other the letters never got to him. One of the reasons being he had no secretary,” Jean said.
“The meeting was very cordial, to the point that there was an arrangement made where we can meet with the minister on a quarterly basis,” Jean added.
The issue of a shortage of examiners was also addressed.
“Since Ancletus Ernest (SOS) contract as a driving examiner was not renewed. We were promised a new examiner in the upcoming weeks. In regards to having a fourth examiner, the minister said he will look into whether a fourth examiner is warranted. If so be the case we will get a fourth examiner this year.
“We were also promised that the special widow and clerk to handle all driving school affairs will be reinstated in a few weeks.”
The association told the minister that the two bus stops – opposite each other – at the Vieux Town entrance, by the traffic lights, are a hazard to road users, particularly pedestrians.
“The minister said he will look into having both bus stops placed on only one side of the road,” Jean said.
The minister disclosed that his ministry will be implimenting “very soon” online payment for all transactions in the Ministry of Transport, Jean said.
The ministry also plans to implement computerised theory exams so candidates can get their results as soon as they finish the exam, Jean said.
“The association was informed that on the new transport board a member of our association Mr. Martin Joseph is now a member of the transport board, which was welcome news to our association since Mr. Joseph is well qualified in the driving and road-use sector,” Jean added.
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