JIS News

Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Mike Henry, says that the only change in the Jamaica Urban Transit Company’s (JUTC) policy for recruiting sub-contractors for the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR) is a provision for greater performance accountability.
Mr. Henry said that it was interesting that National Transport Co-operative Society (NTCS) head, Ezroy Millwood, was warning the members not to continue to serve under the new franchise arrangements within the KMTR, on the basis that they would not be getting contracts for their engagements.
“Nothing will change in terms of the contract engagements under the new arrangements, except that the public can expect greater accountability by way of performance and, of course, payment for the franchises,” Mr. Henry assured in a release issued Tuesday (December 8) by his Ministry.
“All we are seeking to do is to bring order, discipline and more responsibility to the public transport system – nothing more, nothing less,” the Minister said.
The Ministry’s sub-franchise agreement with the NTCS expired on December 2, but the implementation of new sub-franchise agreements has been delayed and the Ministry has attributed this to indiscipline among the applicants.
The Ministry explained that the evaluation process was being extended to accommodate new arrangements, during which time, the police and the Transport Authority have been requested not to prosecute existing operators servicing the routes under the NTCS umbrella.
But on Tuesday, Mr. Henry accused the NTCS President of trying to manipulate the public, as well as the bus operators whom he purports to represent.
Responding to a newspaper article published on Monday (December 7), which reported that the NTCS was considering legal action over the Government’s termination of its bus franchise, the Minister said the basis for the Government’s decision was the improper manner in which elements of the NTCS were servicing the franchise, plus the poor payment record of the Society, including non-payment of almost $38 million due for this year.
The Minister also noted that Mr. Millwood publicly declared, on national media last week, that the NTCS had recently paid the $38 million due to the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) which, the Minister said, has been categorically denied by both the bus company and the Transport Ministry.
Declaring that no such payment has been made, Mr. Henry said Mr. Millwood’s action was “symptomatic of someone who has lost all sense of reason, and is now beginning to take the taxpayers for a ride and press unnecessary panic buttons”.
The Minister questioned what portion of the unpaid NTCS franchise fees had been collected by the society from its membership. He said he hoped that Mr. Millwood would outline what has been done with the fees paid by the bus operators, and how they would be compensated for the non-payment to the JUTC.

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