Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 8th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Saturday, August 8, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Maxi Taxi and taxi drivers in T&T
are saying a firm and resounding
no to any Rapid Rail system in T&T,
whether it comes from the UNC or
the PNM, as they say it makes no
sense and will only result in a finan-
cial burden on tax-payers and a
major loss of income for drivers.
"I don t want it. I don t see any-
thing good coming from it for me,
said driver for 20 years Randy Ram-
Ramsoondhar has driven thousands
of passengers along the 30 kilometres
between San Fernando and Chagua-
nas and knows the exhaustion caused
by hours spent in traffic.
In an interview yesterday, he said
he knew something needed to be
done about the congestion caused by
the thousand of cars being added to
the nations roads each year.
A rapid rail, he said, was not the
The Rapid Rail proposal was a plan
of the PNM when they were in Gov-
ernment in 2007.
Political leader of the PNM Dr
Keith Rowley has stated his intention
to bring back the plan, as part of the
party s vision for the country s trans-
This week, he accused the People s
Partnership Government of having
its own plan for a rapid rail system.
Regardless of where the plan comes
from, maxi-taxi drivers yesterday said
they wanted no part of it.
There are over 5,000 maxi-taxis
operating on the nations road daily.
Those maxi-taxis feed into a down-
stream industry of mechanics,
straighteners, painters, air-condition-
ing technicians and auto-repair shops.
The maxi-taxis also operate with
an expectation of taking thousands
of passengers to and from their des-
Any decrease in passengers can
only negatively affect multiple busi-
ness in T&T.
"All the maxi-taxi drivers see this
rapid rail project as a negative thing,"
said president of the Association of
Maxi-Taxi drivers of T&T, Ian Hewitt.
"If this rapid rail becomes a reality,
we are going to be pushed out to fight
up with the taxis and the illegal vehi-
cles because how else are we going
to make money?"
Hewitt said no entity had had seri-
ous discussions with the drivers,
whose entire families would be affect-
ed by a move toward a rapid rail sys-
"It s going to affect the income of
small businesses, but it is also going
to affect profits at Neal and Massy,
Diamond Motors and Toyota when
we can t afford to purchase," Hewitt
Further, Hewitt said he could not
understand how a rapid rail system
would help decrease traffic He echoed
statements made by transport engi-
neer Dr Rae Furlonge saying, "the
rapid rail is not a traffic measure, it
is a transportation measure."
The proposed rapid rail project
wouldn t be the first time a train sys-
tem has been active in T&T.
In 1846, the railroad covered about
173 km and the train line ran from
Port-of-Spain to Arima then the rail-
ways were extended to Couva in 1880,
San Fernando in 1882, followed by
Tabaquite, Siparia and Rio Claro.
After the railway closed, govern-
ment at the time, encouraged citizens
to begin work in the maxi taxi indus-
try to aid with public transport.
President of the Route 2 Maxi Taxi
Association Linus Phillip said in 2005
the People s National Movement
(PNM) encouraged drivers to buy
Maxi Taxis by offering a rebate.
The Route 2 association represents
the biggest group of maxi taxis in
"After we spent $605,000 on a
maxi taxi, they will have to tell us
what they want us to do.
"And that s a problem. Nobody
comes to us and tells us anything.
We have been, some of us, trans-
porting people across the country for
the past 30 years," Phillip said.
He said bringing an alternate route
without having discussions with driv-
ers was an "absolute disrespect."
"Neither the PNM or the UNC
(United National Congress) had seri-
ous discussions with us."
The drivers had concerns not just
for their employment but as citizens,
the main concern being, where will
money come from to construct what
is sure to be a billion dollar project.
The other concern is whether, once
constructed, the rapid rail would need
to be heavily subsidised by Govern-
ment, much like the Water Taxi serv-
ice, which saw a loss of $41 million
In a telephone interview yester-
day, Transport Minister Stephen
Cadiz said the Government had
looked at plans for a light rail transit
system but had not proceeded with
"When we came into Government
we received many unsolicited pro-
posals, including those for a rail transit
system. One of them was a proposal
to build the light rail system using
private sector funds. The cabinet
looked at them.
"We had the ministry of finance
look at the proposals but we did not
go further," Cadiz said.
He said the People s Partnership
Government was now looking at a
mass transit system, which would
use all the different modes of trans-
portation, including maxi taxi drivers
to create a more efficient transit sys-
"We wanted to ensure that all com-
---With reporting by Brianna
Taxi drivers against rapid rail
JENSEN LA VENDE
The 11-year-old boy who acci-
dentally killed his friend, Ruben
Rocky Reid, after firing off a 12-
gauge shotgun on Thursday has
been forgiven by the child s par-
ents who stressed that adults with
guns should keep them far from
Speaking at the Forensic Science
Centre, St James, yesterday, Dawn
Reid and Phillip Thomas both
stressed that they forgave the child.
Thomas, however, had a strong
message for the owner of the gun.
"I hope all the youths could take
example about how serious having
a weapon like a gun is and what
tragedy it could have. And I hope
the bigger fools could stop giving
children guns to play with and to
use and things like that. I wish these
little big people could stop doing
that," Thomas said.
He added, "I forgive him already.
I saw him yesterday (Thursday) and
he look scared. It very hard because
it feels unfair. It s not even like an
accident or a house burn down. It s
something that shouldn t have hap-
pened. But I leave it in the Lord s
Reid said she felt heartbroken
but could not hold any animosity
towards the child who killed her
son. She added that Ruben was the
last of her three children who was
supposed to have gone to Port-of-
Spain with her to purchase a new
pair of school sneakers but she
changed her mind after a family
emergency came up.
"It heartbreaking, it real heart-
breaking to see him that way today.
His father had to hold me up, I
nearly fall down because I start to
bawl after I see my son on the table.
All yesterday I was bawling. I could-
n t sleep all night. My second son
was in a mess. The older one Ryan
was vex. I had to tell him it hap-
pened and it have nothing we can
do to change it. It not supposed to
happen but it did. So we have to
accept it. It have no words to
describe how I feeling," Reid said.
She added that her son, whom
she described as her heart, wanted
to be a welder. She said her son
was focusing on writing the Sec-
ondary Entrance Assessment exam
"I forgive [the 11-year-old] you
know, he small. He and Ruben is
the same age. It had no ill intent
there. I don t know him so well, I
know his older brother. I don t hate
him, I leave everything to God. God
will take care of him and he in a
better place. It not supposed to
happen so but it happen. I have to
accept it," Reid said.
According to police, Ruben died
almost immediately after running
in front of the gun. Police said the
Standard Five pupil of Diego Martin
Primary School went with a 13-
year-old friend to the forested area
where the 13-year-old s brothers---
11 and six---were tending to their
father s crops of corn, peas and
plantain. Police said around 11.30
am the 13-year-old loaded the shot-
gun. Moments later his 11-year-old
brother fired once, hitting Ruben
in the face. He died from a single
gunshot wound to the face.
who shot him
Parents of Ruben Rocky Reid, Dawn Reid and Phillip Thomas, speak to journalists outside the Forensic
Science Centre, yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Public education and
communications manager of
the Children's Authority Cheryl
Moses-Williams, in a media
release yesterday, said the
authority was horrified by the
killing. Moses-Williams said the
Response Team has been in
contact with the police and its
staff is on standby to provide
support to the children who
were involved in the incident.
Two children ages 13 and 11 are
in police custody, while police
are seeking their father's
assistance in relation to the
Moses-Williams added that
the authority was appealing to
parents and guardians to
supervise their children and be
extremely vigilant in ensuring
the safety of their children,
especially during the school
TROUBLED BY KILLING
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