Minibus Assoc. claims Tourism Minister trying to mislead public

Kaieteur News
January 10, 2007

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The General Minibus Association of Guyana (GMBA) says the Minister of Tourism, Manniram Prashad, is “trying to mislead the public, or is just downright mischievous”.

In a release yesterday, the GMBA states that the association is a legal entity that was registered in April 1994.

The elected members were Hilbert Archer, President; Victor Canzius, Vice-President; Jennifer Cummings, Secretary; Ulric Mentore, Treasurer; and Godfrey Naughton, Public Relations Officer.

According to the release, the said association was registered under the Friendly Societies Act, whose office was located at Water & Cornhill Streets. The presidency has changed, but Archer has been retained as the official adviser to current President, Lylon Weithers, which was confirmed yesterday by the latter.

Both Archer and Weithers contend that an official meeting did take place with the Director of the Consumer Affairs, Clifford Zammett. It is explained that, at the meeting, there were discussions about the implementation of Value-Added Tax (VAT) and how it will affect the transportation industry.

The GMBA claims that the Director of Consumer Affairs had agreed to examine the situation closer once VAT was implemented, and had promised to meet with the GMBA again to work out a way forward.

In the release, Archer indicated that, “For the Minister to say myself and Mr. Zammett had no formal meeting is a lie from the pit of hell.”

The GMBA stresses that a meeting with minibus operators was planned, and notes that the entity's position is to advise the operators to hold off on increasing fares in light of what President Bharrat Jagdeo and the Minister of Finance have said about the decrease in price.

However, in light of the Guyana Public Transportation Association's (GPTA) scheduled meeting today, the GMBA will put a hold on their meeting, claiming that whatever clout the GPTA claims to have will be evident at that forum. The GMBA is adamant that it is the only body recognised by the minibus operators.

The GMBA informed that discussions were held on Monday at 10:00 hrs between Archer and GPTA's Compton Giddings, where it was agreed that a grace period, ending on February 15, will be proposed to minibus operators, allowing the VAT transition to run its course so that definite steps could be taken.

The GMBA stands by its position, saying that if the prices of vehicle spares do not decrease, then an increase in fares will be warranted.