The head of the Association of Private Transport Operators (APTO) has called for random police checks at bus terminals across the island in wake of last week’s shooting on a ZR van.
Interim chairman of APTO, Morris Lee, argued that while this would not stamp out violence altogether, it would help deal with the problem of passengers smuggling weapons on to buses.
“We have always been concerned about the safety of our members. In this particular incident with the ZR it was a shooting incident that occurred but people do carry knives and other objects,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“There’s no system in the bus terminals where people could be searched to see if they have offensive weapons on them before they board vehicles, but I would suggest that the authorities do random checks at the bus terminals to see what they come up with. I believe the areas should be targeted by the police,” he said.
Last Friday, 33-year-old Dwayne Johnson of Skeetes Road, Ivy, St. Michael was shot in the back in a Route 10 ZR travelling along Lower Collymore Rock, out of the City, when he and another passenger in the rear of the vehicle were involved in an altercation.
He is recovering after undergoing surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Lee said he had not yet spoken to the driver of the ZR van, but was told he has been traumatised.
He said, however, that he was not surprised by the shooting and remained very concerned about the level of gun violence in the country, particularly those involving young people.
“The reason why it doesn’t take me by surprise. There was a shooting in the bus terminal some time back when a person actually lost their life in the ZR bus stand, so these things don’t take me by surprise because violence of that magnitude has no respect for a location. Therefore, we are hoping that the powers that be do their very best to wrestle this problem to the ground,” Lee said.
“That could have happened on a Transport Board bus, it could have happened on any other mode of transport.”
Lee contended that the violence in the country appeared to be getting out of control and made a call for all residents to help fight the scourge.
“These things aren’t manufactured here in Barbados. These violent acts paint a picture of what really is happening in society and there are many approaches that have to be used. There is no single approach, it has to be a multiple response from all the agencies – Government, the private sector, the churches. It has to be approached from all levels,” Lee added.