Wednesday, July 25, 2007

PM: I long to drive a bus

Juhel Browne

Prime Minister Patrick Manning, the man who has held the post twice in what is the nation's longest Parliamentary career, says one of the things he wants to achieve in life is to drive a bus.
"I don't know if I ever told you all a secret desire I have, and I'll do it before I die, is to drive a bus, eh," Manning said during his address at a People's National Movement (PNM) public meeting in John John, Laventille, on Monday night.

"I haven't made it yet, but I'll go down to PTSC one day and I want to drive one of the long ones, you know the articulated ones."

Interviewed yesterday, Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) acting chief executive officer Vincent Lynch said that while it takes at least a month to qualify to drive a bus, he understands why Manning would have such a desire.

"We in here at the managerial level say to ourselves there must be a day when we can climb up on a bus and drive it, be part of the delivery process. It is an exciting process. Clearly, he (Manning) is driven by this service consciousness," Lynch said.

To do so, however, Lynch said one must have a heavy-T driver's licence before even applying to become a bus-driver.

"You must have some feel for a heavy vehicle. There are laws governing the operation of Public Service vehicles," he said.

Lynch said that bus-driving trainees go through a three- to four-week training programme that involves classroom studies and road exercises.

"Then you go and you are tested by the licensing office," Lynch said.

Manning disclosed his bus driving ambitions on Monday night while speaking of the Government's retraining programme, where 100 people are trained in each three- to four-month cycle in heavy equipment operations and maintenance, where there is a "gross shortage" of skills.

In doing so, Manning expressed great admiration for those who can operate cranes and manoeuvre large vehicles.

"You know how difficult it is to get a driver today who can drive a truck with a trailer, an articulated vehicle? It is very difficult to get such a person, you know. You might be able to drive it forward but you couldn't be able to reverse that. It's not easy to reverse a trailer, you know. In other words, you have to be trained to do those things," Manning said.

So what the fock he has been doin wid Hazel?

Engine, big body, chassis, tyres and no fockin brain.

You is the fockin driver asshole.

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