The passage of new and higher penalties for overweight trucks on the nation’s highways and roadways, without any sort of consultation, will result in a further transportation crisis which is already having a devastating effect on the economy and cost of living in Trinidad and Tobago.
Oropouche East Member of Parliament and shadow Minister of Works and Transport Dr Roodal Moonilal met with over 60 truckers and small transport contractors on Sunday January 9, 2022 at the Debe Water park, Debe to discuss complaints and grievances of the truckers and construction transport sector in light of these new refulations.
In attendance were representatives of the South Truckers Association and the Trinidad and Tobago Haulers Association. Mr Ryan Stephens, Director at the Haulers Association along with Mr Dave Sookoo of the South Truckers Association were in attendance.
The meeting was also addressed by prominent southern activist Edward Moodie and host businessman Mr Vijay Ramai.
Several truck drivers and owners expressed condemnation of the latest increase in penalties being administered against owners and drivers for overweight cargo, including:
- the punitive and discriminatory administration of this law
- the failure to understand the dynamics of building material transport (as opposed to shipping cargo), and
- the inequitable treatment by officers of the license division of the Ministry of Works and Transport at road blocks on the highways.
Speakers, also advanced useful recommendations to assist the transportation sector while abiding by the spirit of the law.
The heartless, ad hoc and arbitrary application of the regulations and law was a major grievance identified by the majority of truckers.
While Dr Moonilal expressed support for future protest action by the truckers and truck owners, he indicated that the first step would be to tabulate and draft a proper letter to Rohan Sinanan, the Minister of Works and Transport, copied to the Permanent Secretary of this Ministry, the License Commissioner and the Acting Police Commissioner on the host of matters raised and seek an urgent meeting to discuss same.
Moonilal also indicated that the truckers must also advance workable recommendations to change the policy and law while maintaining law and order on the roads.
Dr. Moonilal undertook to draft correspondence to the relevant public authorities while liaising with the truckers to bring immediate alleviation to their plight.
Dr Moonilal committed to meet with a delegation of the representative organizations to further discuss this matter.