Students stranded first day of school - Bus, taxi drivers strike
- Bus, taxi drivers strike
Thousands of students were left stranded in St Thomas and Portland on the first day of the new school year as disgruntled bus and taxi drivers withdrew their services and mounted roadblocks in several communities in the parishes to protest the poor conditions of the roads.
Principal of Happy Grove High School, Monique Grant Facey, said that more than half of her students and staff were unable to attend school. "About 80 per cent of my students are unable to get to school. They have been out on the road from morning, and haven't been able to get a bus to come from Port Antonio or the St Thomas region," Grant Facey said. "The students from Hector's River, who would normally walk to school, are the only students who are here." The students were later sent home.
Senior teacher at St Thomas Technical High School, Marlene Wallace, said that only 25 per cent of the students turned up for school. "On a rough estimate, I would say about 25 per cent of the students showed up, but they were sent home," Wallace said.
In the wake of the untimely death of Principal Audrey Bryan on Sunday, Wallace told THE STAR that representatives from the Ministry of Education were at the school consoling the staff and advised them to dismiss the students.
Reports are that roadblocks were mounted in Amity Hall in St Thomas and from Long Bay to Hector's River in Portland in wee hours of yesterday morning. The Golden Grove police in eastern St Thomas told THE STAR that the roadblocks were cleared by mid-morning, and that there was a heavy police presence in the areas.
Taxi driver Nigel Donald who operates between Morant Bay, St Thomas, and Manchioneal, Portland, said that the conditions of the roads are increasing their monthly expenses to maintain their vehicles. "Every month we have to change our front-end parts and transport authorities a dig off plates off di front a wi vehicle. We need the conditions of the roads to improve," Donald said, adding that the operators might continue the strike for the entire week.