The time has come to stop beating around the bush about these horrendous minibus smash-ups on our roads that end in multiple fatalities. Such catastrophes occur ever so often and we spend the interregnum between tragedies demonizing minibus drivers as if there is anything that we can do to alter a mindset that is underpinned by little more than recklessness and an un-mindfulness for life and limb. Let’s face it, if we cannot change the attitudes of reckless minibus drivers we at least have the power to make them change the jobs they do. This is where the police come in. The only way the recklessness will stop and the fatalities will be reduced is if we enforce the law rigidly. THAT IS WHAT LIES IN OUR POWER! THAT IS WHAT WE MUST DO! It makes no sense bumping our gums about how mindless some minibus drivers are. That changes nothing.
And who are the people to enforce the law? the police. And are they doing it anywhere as effectively as they should or can? No! No! A thousand times, no! And the Minister of Home Affairs and the Police Commissioner know this. They know that however many road safety campaigns you have that will not stop the minibus madness. The Police Traffic Department has to put in the boot! Never mind the laws. Never mind the regulations. De police must get dread.
Nobody in authority wants to talk about that. It’s easier to demonize the minibus drivers and to make the commuters feel that somehow they are responsible for the carnage on the roads. “De passengers must talk up about the speeding,” the PPP/C says. As if talking up helps. Some the drivers are so confident in their connections that commuters are ordered off buses at the slightest protest.
It is not the commuters who need to do the talking up. It is people like us. And we need to talk up about the culture of corruption that passes for a public transportation system. Is de top up culture; de lef something culture. Some minibuses these days serve two purposes. The first is to provide public transport and the second, to provide a subsidy for some police officers. People have been heard to make comments like “de police gat shares in dem minibus” and “de minibus dem throwin box wid de police.” And lives are ransomed to recklessness and life goes on and when another Homestretch Avenue carnage happens we jump pon the minibus drivers……..as if they care.
And what about the policemen who own minibuses……special buses, where drivers can speed and overload to their hearts’ content because no police can stop them; the only thing that can stop them is another speeding vehicle, or a lamp post or some other immovable object; and then we go into another interlude of nonsense. So that if we want to stop the carnage it has to start with stopping the top up culture. The minibus/police box hand culture, the lef something culture; and those policemen who are looking to earn something extra they must plant up deh back yard and sell greens. Policemen owning minibuses is a conflict of interest. It makes the policemen part of the problem which means they cannot be part of the solution.