Students from Stann Creek Ecumenical High School and Delille Academy waited long hours this morning to get to school and eventually some gave up and went back home. This was as a result of a payment problem between the Ministry of Education and the bus drivers, contracted by the Ministry of Education. Reports were that this was part of a staged protest on the part of the bus drivers due to non payment. We spoke today with the Stann Creek District Manager for the Ministry of Education Tania Nuñez who told us that the problem stemmed from an issue that was averted on Friday.
Tania Nunez: As soon as we were made aware of that situation, our CEO and Finance Officer made some calls over here and relates with a fuel station so that they would be able to release some fuel to the contractors so that they could go home Friday evening and come back Monday Morning. That was done on Friday and they were assured that Monday morning they would receive their payment. As far as I know, that situation has been resolved satisfactorily. Unfortunately, quite of the bus drivers they had to call them this morning, hence the reason the majority of them came into Town late. Some students had already decided to return home. There was only one contractor who did not move any at all, from all the contractors that we have in the district and that is the bus originating from Hopkins.
Tania Nunez: I’m sure he has his reason because he was assured, like everyone else that they would be getting their monies today.
According to the Ministry, payments for the bus drivers were being processed this morning and all indications are that the bus drivers have since been paid. Nunez said the Ministry regrets that the students were affected in this situation.
Tania Nunez: I on behalf of the Ministry would like to apologize to the parents and the students who unfortunately got caught in this situation. I really believe that the contractors should not hold students hostage when adults are discontent. Had they come in and explain to us as the Ministry then you know we could have done everything possible to allay the situation as we always do. We try to work with them.