Stakeholders in the transport sector have been given an opportunity to make contributions to the development of transport policy in Jamaica.
Just under 500 persons representing public transportation providers across the island, participated in the Transport Authority (TA) Second Annual Transport Stakeholders Conference at the Sandals Ocho Rios Beach Resort in St. Ann on Wednesday (July 21). The conference was held under the theme “Changing the Mindset, Finding the Solutions”.
In addressing the Conference, Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague said that the decision to host the meeting was one of the recommendations of a study on the transport sector that was commissioned by the TA and executed by the University of the West Indies.
“It is important that we reflect on ourselves and get an institution like the University to look at us, to critique us, tear us apart and then make recommendations on how we can make ourselves better,” Minister Montague said.
He also said that coming out of the study, the UWI Faculty of Social Sciences is currently considering developing a programme in transportation.
TA Managing Director, Willard Hylton, told JIS News that the stakeholder conference is a joint effort of the TA and the Ministry of Transport and Mining.
“For a number of years, persons in the sector have been talking about the issues that plague the sector. These issues are nothing new, but we have never provided a platform for them to discuss the issues in a real way. So, the role of the conference today is to create that platform,” the Managing Director explained.
“The intention is for them to sit, have a conversation among themselves about what they can do to fix some of the issues, so at the end of the day, we are expecting them to come back to us with a document, guiding us as to what it is that we can do to help to change some of the things that are happening in the sector,” Mr. Hylton said.
Meanwhile, TA Senior Legal Officer Ewan Simpson said the Authority is very clear that everyone who works in land transportation is a stakeholder and that it is imperative for the growth of the sector to engage them in meaningful dialogue.
“They are who we exist for, and so if we are to develop a modern agile, people- centred land transportation system, then we have to engage them. For too long, the persons who operate within the system have been peripheral, and in making policy, in coming up with legislation, it has always been something that was handed to them,” Mr. Simpson contended.
He said among the participants were umbrella organisations, groups proposing to provide cutting-edge services to the sector and existing service providers.
“What we’ve done is get a cross section of stakeholders… we have the heads of the taxi associations, taxi companies and umbrella groups,” he said, pointing out that they are the ones who are best placed to inform some decisions within the industry.
WRITTEN BY: PETA-GAY HODGES
Source: JIS News