Government will not tolerate behavior that tarnishes tourism industry: Minister

The Minister of Internal Affairs, responsible for public land transport, Andrew Napuat, has expressed grave disappointment at the behavior of two bus drivers displayed in the front page article of the Daily Post Monday that nearly cost the lives of two elderly Canadian tourists.

He told a press conference Monday that he had requested the Public Land Transport Authority (PLTA) to liaise with the Vanuatu Police Force Traffic Unit to investigate the reported incident and where necessary, lay charges against the drivers of the buses concerned and reconsider the status of their driver’s permits.

“We will no longer tolerate such attitudes to tarnish our tourism industry and the ongoing disputes that are happening at the Tourism Wharf during cruise ship days,” he said.

The Minister explained that the Port Vila Cruise Transport Association at the wharf was an initiative of the Government in 2016 to solve the issue of fighting and disruption that was threatening the future of cruise ships visits to Vanuatu.

He said the members of the association are also members of the Shefa Port Vila Public Land Transport Association and that the President and Vice President of the Association have been requested to implement the decision and instructions of the Board of Directors of the PLTA by this week’s deadline with their members to resolve issues between them.

The issue at the wharf erupted again last week when the Minister for Tourism, Trade, Industry and ni-Vanuatu Business Development instructed the President of the Shefa Port Vila Public Land Transport Association, Donald Massing, from disrupting business at the wharf on cruise ship days with members of the Port Vila Cruise Transport Association (PVCTA) being the only ones allowed to operate at the wharf. The Minister’s letter incensed public transport drivers who are not in the PVCTA who said the association’s existence was illegal and threatened to take the matter to court.

Minister Napuat said negotiation had been ongoing to resolve the situation and he had not heard any more about the threat of the court case.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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