KINGSTON, Jamaica - Opposition Spokesman on Transport and Works, Mikael Phillips, is calling for the immediate intervention of Minister of Transport and Mining Audley Shaw in the dispute at the Transport Authority (TA) which has led to staff being restive for more than two days.
On Tuesday, workers at the Transport Authority's western regional office in Montego Bay, St James staged a peaceful protest over what they believe is the forced removal of their managing director, Willard Hylton.
In a statement on Thursday, Phillips said it was inexplicable that the Minister has allowed the public trading of allegations in statements by the board, management and staff for two days but has remained “silent and inactive”.
Describing the Transport Authority as a critical institution in regulating the transport sector and enforcing the terms of road licenses of the taxi and bus operators island-wide, Phillips said the Minister “must act immediately to prevent a total breakdown of order in the system, which was already reeling from indiscipline and high input costs, including fuel.”
The Opposition Spokesman said the Minister should clarify the reasons for the resignation of the Acting Managing Director of the Authority instead of allowing various theories to be at large among the management and staff.
Phillips says Shaw should specifically state whether there was any political interference in the departure of the acting manager director, as he had “only recently taken up the appointment and from all reports was performing well.”
Egeton Newman, president of the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS) called on Shaw to rescind the resignation of Hylton.
Newman alleged that Hylton's resignation was triggered by the actions of what he called "a team of rogue managers" at the Transport Authority who "for years has been doing their own thing or doing nothing".
Phillips said a clear statement by the Minister would end the continuing protest action by staff and allow the TA offices to return to normal operations.