‘REPAIR our roads sooner rather than later. If not, we will take drastic action!’
That’s the stern warning minibus drivers of Route 4B, owners of private vehicles and commuters, have issued to Government, urging it to take heed.
The crater-like potholes in Belle Vue have been a major source of concern for residents there.
Some of those concerned have already begun showing their dissatisfaction with the condition of the road.
Last week, residents of the community blocked the roads with boulders and trees which had to be removed by minibus drivers who ply the 4B route.
And according to them, the worst is yet to come.
A few minibus drivers of Route 4B say they are “prepared to give the government a little more time to repair the roads,” but owners of private vehicles and commuters say they are “prepared to take drastic action now.”
A few days ago, this reporter travelled to Belle Vue to get first- hand experience of the plight of the residents there — and found out that their concerns are genuine.
Earlier this year, the Route 4B minibus drivers protested a delay in the adjustment in their bus fares, which had annoyed commuters. But the commuters say this time around they are prepared to give the minibus drivers their full support for any protest action which they may decide to take.
Kerisha Jeffery, a resident of the area, said: “The situation is very annoying and requires immediate attention… The road is in a deplorable state.”
She said, “In case of emergency, a sick person is likely to perish before he or she gets to the hospital, due to the amount of time it will take the ambulance to reach its destination.”
Besides, she said, “The minibus drivers need some relief”.
The owner of a private vehicle said he is also prepared to take drastic action right now.
According to Sheldon Leriche, Secretary of the Route 4B Minibus Drivers Association, the situation is annoying.
“Minibus drivers are fed up, commuters are fed up, owners of private vehicles are fed up… The situation is frustrating,” Leriche lamented, adding that “Traveling along the roads to and from Belle Vue is a nightmare.”
He added: “However, we are concerned about the people who we have to take to work, take to the market and other places.”
Leriche said that his association has already informed transport board of its concerns and was given the assurance that the matter will be taken to the relevant authority.
He added that a transport officer was expected to inspect the conditions of the road in the community this week and they were willing to wait just that bit more.
“We are waiting to see what will happen. If nothing happens we will pull out our services,” he said.
Leriche added: “We are working with the Government of St. Lucia, not with the Government of Labour or the Government of Flambeau. It’s not political.”
He said, “The former administration had only completed half of the road, leaving the other half unfinished.”
“We pay drivers license, road tax, route band fees, National Council fees… and still we can’t get a good road,” Leriche said.
According to him, he is very concerned that if they are forced to take protest action, the matter may get out of hand by the actions of some residents and owners of private vehicles, who are very angry about the situation.
“They have already started…” he said, referring to the boulders and trees which were placed to block the road last week.
Leriche is now appealing to the relevant authority to address the matter with some degree of urgency.
Minibus drivers in other parts of the south of the island have described minibus drivers of 4B as drivers with ‘the most patience’ on the island.
Parliamentary representative for Vieux-Fort North, Moses Jn.Baptiste, has also been harping on the issue for some time now.