In order to properly implement the recently launched Minibus Code of Conduct, head of the United Minibus Union (UMU) Eon Andrews says there is a need for more rigorous enforcement of the traffic laws.
His comment was made against the backdrop of an accident on Sunday morning that claimed the lives of two woman. The women were passengers in a minibus that was speeding as it was heading to town. It crashed and turned turtle.
Speaking to Stabroek News on Monday, Andrews said that it is not that the current laws are too relaxed but that there is a need for more rigorous enforcement by the Guyana Police Force. He also noted that there is a need for some of the young policemen to be retrained since they seem not too familiar with the traffic laws on occasion.
“The police have given a commitment because they recognised that they have to train and retrain the people but as I said I think it has to do with the corruption as well. What I would also like to see is that if you violate let’s say three traffic laws in a short period of time, then your licence should be suspended,” he said, while noting that he is going to be pressing for such legislation to be in place.
Andrews also stressed that while a lot of agencies are involved in the enforcement of the new code, an organised approach to address the issues are needed.
With respect to the union, he said that they will be policing and advising the members of the sensibility of the changes and recommendations of the code of conduct, including the importance of being uniformly dressed.
“There are certain requirements but we recognise, also, that a lot of these things will not happen overnight, especially with the amount of corrupt officers out there. Most of the violations are in Chapter 52:01 and our things are mode of dress and arranging training sessions for hospitality and the business ministry. They have laws within the ministry that relates to customer complaints and things like that,” he said.
The code emphasises that the transportation services are a critical sector of the economy and, therefore, it should be operated in a professional manner.
The code was signed by Andrews, Muriel Tinnis, Director of the Consumer Affairs Department within the ministry, Deputy Chairman of the Guyana National Road Safety Council Earl Lambert, and Traffic Chief Linden Isles in the presence of Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin.
With the signing of the code, minibus operators are expected to abide by the guidelines which prohibit loud and offensive music, offensive language, discrimination against the elderly, persons with disabilities, and non-nationals. It also mandates the proper display of the fare structure in minibuses.
Operators will be required to wear uniforms, along with an identification badge or card. It was explained that operators of the different routes will be attired in a uniform associated with their routes. The code does not permit operators to refuel their minibuses while commuters are on board.