A code of conduct for minibus operations and operators has been mooted and could soon be implemented. This in principle must be commended as well as those who are part of the process. It is vital not just for the much-needed improvement of service but for safer driving on the roadways. For far too long, this has been allowed to go unchecked, resulting in wanton dissatisfaction of commuters and road accidents, tragically some with fatalities.It should be noted that not all operators are offenders, as some continue to provide the desired service and adhere to traffic laws. Unfortunately, they seem to be in the minority thereby exposing users of public transportation to many errant operators. It must also be noted that some passengers are comfortable with the service provided by the errant ones who, without consideration for others, engage in blasting music sometimes laced with vulgar lyrics, overloading, and reckless driving.One would easily state that some schoolchildren are among those who are comfortable. However, it is not confined to that group as some adults are guilty and are abusive to passengers who object. These objections and the seeming joy the schoolchildren in question derive in some buses would serve to embolden the operators to continue their daily service and traffic violations. This has led to an unfortunate national normalisation and acceptance of this disservice meted out to commuters.What is even more unacceptable is that it happens even as Police are on the roadways. Some officers have been seen trying to curb the situation, but clearly it appears not to be holistic. There is the belief that quite a number of buses in the system are owned by Police Officers at different levels. This may be a factor in junior ranks not being willing to apply the law to those operators. Also, it is no secret that some other drivers who are pulled over for violating traffic laws call a superior officer and the rank has to back off.Again, this would make the ranks hesitant to execute their duties having being made to feel that their actions to ensure traffic order have no value. While this is not the only factor, it is a contributing one to daily transgressions on the country’s roadways. Undertaking, meandering in and out of lanes, using unauthorised roads to bypass traffic lights and stopping and moving off at random are just some of what transpire daily from some minibus operators.Recently, the Traffic Chief was reported as saying that passengers have to help police minibus operations. Some concerned passengers and other road users would have made reports to the Police. It is not clear how those have been handled in the past and what the plan is for the future. One suggestion would be for such reports and the subsequent actions taken to be made public. Following such reports, if errant operators who endanger passengers and other road users are made to feel the brunt of the law, it could become a deterrent.The call by the Traffic Chief is good, but not new. For it to work, members of the public must be made to feel that they could genuinely contribute to improving the system and not being made to feel their time is being wasted. This means that internal mechanisms within the Force would have to be in place to so accommodate. Attitudes that allow for easy accommodation would, therefore, be a concern in this dispensation. Much has been said about the manner in which some ranks relate to members of the public.Attitudes, however, are not confined to the Police, but the operators as well. While both sets could be challenging to change, it’s not impossible. At least on one front, the desired example would have to be set by those who operate buses owned by Police Officers who must so insist. Ranks must also be made to feel that if they were to intercept one such bus for violating traffic laws, they will not be reprimanded by their superiors.In addition, the use of undercover cops in some minibuses would help. If that were to be implemented (if not already), operators would eventually realise that they are targets for the improvement of the service. A combination of these efforts, if implemented and sustained, would be steps in the right direction much to the satisfaction of commuters. The longer these are held back, frustration will increase and the situation could worsen.That said, obviously the biggest challenges surrounding the code of conduct would be implementation followed by monitoring. It would not be easy. Here again, the public must be made to feel a sense of ownership, which makes it easy for them to willingly participate. Ironically, they feel the brunt of the violations by the operators and are also made to feel helpless in their quest for recourse. More than likely, they may want to gauge the effect first before committing. Who can blame them, for they have unflattering stories to tell.
Dear Editor,Here we go again! City Hall in the news. Do you think it is for something positive like fixing the roads, or improving street lighting, or commissioning a new state of the art Abattoir and meat processing facility? Of course not. It is about them facilitating, condoning and attempted a cover up of a dreadful crime against a juvenile.The Town Clerk would like the citizens to believe that one day, whilst conducting an unrelated meeting in his office, someone sent the juvenile victim in the ‘Sex and the City’ case without prior notification to see him, who was allowed in without any let or hindrance, and all he – the Town Clerk did, was ask the youngster his name and age and then sent the boy on his way. Oh boy, Oh boy!Has any member of the public ever tried to meet with the Town Clerk? And was that person successfully able to meet with him just like that? Or did they have to try and try and try again? Is having the victim visit him in his office and interrogating him even if it were just two questions, not a meeting and an interview?But the question is why did it take approximately three weeks to bring the matter before the Legal Affairs Committee and two months before bringing the matter to the attention of the police. And he has the audacity to say that he finally contacted the police in order to “preserve the good name and image” of the City Council. Yes you read correctly, to “preserve the good name and image” of the Georgetown City Council. Now this is no time for the Town Clerk to be making sick jokes like that. The Georgetown Municipality must have the worst reputation in the world.This is the same man, the Town Clerk who objected to a City Councillor approaching and asking one of his children a question about him, but he is free to question other people’s children who are victims of a sex crime. How funny?The depravity of the Council came out in the suggestion by the Mayor that the whole of the downstairs needs reorganising. One has to assume that she is referring to the lower level of staff occupying the ground floor. But what about the upstairs? Does the Town Clerk not need to go on his accrued leave? Those preventing an effective audit being carried out at the Council don’t need to be gotten rid of? Do the Human Resource Department officials who failed to interdict the offending Lance Corporal but who kept him on the job, not need to have disciplinary measures taken against them?Heaven helps the Citizens of Georgetown!Sincerely,Jermain Johnson read more