Secretary of Education, Innovation and Energy has said his division is attempting to tighten the arrangement among Tobago’s maxi taxi concessionaires, the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) and the division.
In September, maxi operators on the island, through their attorney Janelle Ramsaroop of Martin George and Company, said they have initiated High Court action against the division and PTSC for judicial review of a decision to distribute “unreasonable and unfair” school transport contracts among the 31 operators in their individual capacities.
Ramsaroop said the contracts are discriminatory against older drivers.
She said the contracts seek to expel the services of those maxi taxi concessionaires who are over 60, and would also be detrimental to those who are reaching that age.
“The contract is for a term of two years...two years, after operating for something like 30 years peacefully with the Division of Education.
“How can you now come and distribute two-year contracts to these maxi taxi concessionaires? It’s nothing short of ridiculous, ludicrous, outrageous and in that regard, there has been an outright deprivation of the legitimate expectations of the maxi taxi concessionaires to continue operating,” she said.
Questioned as to whether he had received any legal documents on this issue, Charles said last Wednesday, "I have received no court documents relating to that matter."
He added, “I am aware of ongoing discussions with the school transport concessionaires...There is a memorandum of understanding and that memorandum of understanding will find itself into a contractual agreement. So, as far as I am aware, there is a conversation between the division and PTSC reference that particular document."
Charles denied the division was ending its relationship with the maxi taxi drivers and letting PTSC take over.
"We are not handing over any group to anyone, what subsists at this point in time is an arrangement that always existed, what we are trying to do is to tighten the arrangement so as to ensure that the maxi taxi concessionaires are not disadvantaged as well as to facilitate timely payment for their services.”