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Dalrymple-Philibert adds voice to rural bus system concern

Published:Monday | September 24, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

SOUTH TRELAWNY Member of Parliament (MP) Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert has added her voice to the call for a rural bus system for school children.

Dalrymple-Philibert, who is the Opposition spokesman on education, said many parents are experiencing difficulties finding money for transportation for children to school. She said in some instances bus fare in rural areas amounts to $1,000 per day.

"We have to look at rural transportation for children going to school because the stress is there," she said in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

"We must address transportation in rural areas for children so that they can go to school and come back," she added.

Transport and Works Minister Dr Omar Davies had scrapped a proposed rural bus system saying the country cannot afford to pay for it.

"There were plans to create a rural bus system and the challenges we face with Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) would suggest that we should try to concentrate on trying to address them, reduce the losses rather than seek to explore the possibility of additional institutions which would lead to the same problems," Davies has said.

But Central Clarendon MP Mike Henry has been pushing for a rural bus system for children to be put back on the agenda.

Last week, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said Education Minister Ronald Thwaites and Transport, Works and Housing Minister Dr Omar Davies have been tasked to consider the possibility of a national school bus system.

It is part of an approach the prime minister feels will offer more protection for children.

Speaking in the House of Representatives, the prime minister said "too many of our children are getting raped."

Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips said "the ministry of transport and works will be working out proposals that we will have to look at."

He did not say whether the Government will be answering the call for a rural school bus system.