Saturday 30 May, 2020

MOWT on Uber: Citizens should be protected from 'arbitrariness'

The Ministry of Works and Transport (MOWT) said international ride-sharing company Uber never submitted the required information in order to operate lawfully within Trinidad and Tobago.

The Ministry issued a statement Tuesday after Uber announced that it would be halting operations in Trinidad.

The announcement comes after the recent murder of Uber driver Christopher Mohammed. 

The Ministry said that it had asked the company to provide information on insurance coverage as well as its taxation structure but never received the information.

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"The national community is reminded of the Ministry's previously stated position on the operations of this company in this country and the need for it to comply with all applicable laws."

"This is all the much more important in the context of the complexities of the local transportation industry."

"Since the commencement of Uber's operations in Trinidad and Tobago, the Minister of Works and Transport along with senior officials from the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs met with Uber on several occasions, with a view to working with company for he purpose of aligning its operations in conformity with the country's laws, particularly, the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act and Motor Vehicle Insurance (Third Party Risks) Act. 

"Towards this end, Uber was required to comply with two essential and immovable requirements which have affected the local informal transportation industry.

"Firstly Uber was required to fully disclose the particulars of its insurance coverage certification for passengers and drivers.

"Secondly it was asked to disclose its taxation structures as its system purportedly operates on a deduction system as it relates to its drivers' earnings without disclosure as to the payment of corporate, withholding and other taxes and benefits, which should accrue to its local drivers."

"Disclosure and provision of this information is essential in facilitating the state's understanding of uber's operations and to further embark upon a national consultation for the purpose of crafting a policy for these operations within our jurisdiction as well as the wider informal transportation industry."

Unfortunately, the information requested of Uber has never been provided," the Ministry said.

The Ministry said it pledges to work and collaborate with interested stakeholders with the "aim of achieving a reliable transportation system for all our citizens".

The Ministry said such collaboration must be premised upon an agreement and willingness to operate within the laws of the country in the best interest of all.

"The protection of our locals and of our economy should never be subjected to arbitrariness and lack of transparency," the Ministry said.


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