Bus drivers in Central and South Eleuthera pulled their services Tuesday morning following a lengthy dispute with the Ministry of Education concerning unpaid cheques for services rendered between May and June 2018.
The transportation operators told Eyewitness News Tuesday that they refuse to return to work until they are paid the overdue funds.
“I have bills to pay and I owe people money, I want them to pay us and I want them to begin paying us on time,” said Ricky Johnson a bus driver.
Myrtle McPhee, District Administrator for Central and South Eleuthera, confirmed that the drivers had not been paid and that a lengthy process of dialogue had been underway between her office and the Ministry of Education in New Providence to bring some resolve to the vexing issue.
McPhee said while the dialogue has been long there have been no conclusive answers given as to when the drivers could expect their funds to be released.
The demonstration forced parents on the island to drop their children to school Tuesday morning.
Police on the island, who had a heads-up about the demonstration, said they were prepared for the increase in vehicular traffic.
“We knew ahead of time that the drivers would be staging this process so we came out to ensure that the flow of traffic proceeds without any issue and to also ensure that all of the student pedestrians are kept safe,” said Inspector Joseph Oldham.
McPhee told Eyewitness News Tuesday that this is not the first time that drivers have been faced with payment challenges.
Drivers were unpaid at the start of the 2017 school semester as well, Mcphee affirmed.
Education minister Jeff Lloyd refused to offer comment on the fiasco Tuesday.