Free National Movement (FNM) National Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Grand Bahama FNM Council David Thompson, yesterday defended the government’s decision in terminating the contracts of former assigned school bus drivers, hired to transport students to government operated schools.
Thompson’s remarks came on the heels of a protest staged by the drivers in front of the Harold DeGregory Building on Monday, January 7, claiming their contracts were terminated unfairly.
In response to the drivers’ claims, Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Sen. Kwasi Thompson admitted that the contracts were terminated and the drivers’ claims “had no merit.”
Tuesday (January 8) afternoon, the party’s vice chairman stood by the decision and questioned the accusations levied by the bus drivers, who themselves did not practice diligence in the past, he maintained.
“Under the previous PLP (Progressive Liberal Party) Administration, in 2015, contracts were given to selected individuals and some held multiple bus contracts,” Thompson maintained.
He noted that the drivers were duly notified.
“School is open and all children were safely and effectively transported. We have received no complaints to date, and with that being the case we say that the contractors for the bus contracts are executing their contracts satisfactory,” Thompson disclosed.
“When it comes to all matters related to Road Traffic and Transportation, we have a ministry and a department that is very qualified to deal with all such complaints and anyone who has any such complaints could please see the Road Traffic Department here in Freeport.
“Government policy for contracts was always three years until 2015, when under the PLP bus contracts were given for five years. All school bus contracts ended December 12, 2018 after three years.
“Proper legal notice was given and this was done in accordance with the law and the terms of the contract,” Thompson insisted.
“Under the previous PLP Administration, school lunch vendors received no notice of termination. Lunch vendors were called in one room that Friday before Monday school opening and their contracts terminated, while in the next room new lunch vendors selected by the PLP signed their contracts.
“The PLP dismissed them despite no notice and with no consideration for money they had already spent on supplies and in total disregard to the pain and hurt the families would suffer,” the national vice chairman maintained.
“Ordinary taxpaying Bahamians demand this FNM administration to investigate the corruption, end discriminatory practices and afford a level playing field to all Bahamians, not just the privileged few.
“We in the FNM will continue to treat all in business with respect, including small contractors and vendors who drive our economy as we investigate and clean up corrupt practices in government in our Bahamas.
“FNM members like all other ordinary Bahamians deserve a leveled playing field. Therefore, it would be natural for them as members of our community to have been selected to give bus contracts services.”