The Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) has strongly condemned “barbaric” gun attacks on operators, the latest of which is the slaying of a route taxi driver during what police believe to be a robbery attempt.
In a statement, AOPT public relations officer Mark Haynes appealed to law enforcement and to Barbadians out of a sense of civic duty to join forces to stamp out the attacks.
He said: “Nothing is essentially wrong in going into caucus with all stakeholders, be it the police, Transport Authority or whomever, in an effort to devise the requisite security measures to curtail this act of barbarity.
“It is unacceptable, undesirable and must come to an end.
“We all must move with alacrity to deal with this matter before it escalates or intensifies.”
Haynes’ words echoed those of his chairman Roy Raphael, who last week warned of a worrying trend of PSV operators being attacked and called on the authorities to nip the transit crimes in the bud.
On Wednesday morning, the PSV industry was thrown in to mourning after driver Ralston Philip Agard was brutally gunned down the night before in an alleged robbery attempt. Agard, of Sandy Hill, St Philip, is the 34th homicide for the year and second shooting of a PSV driver in as many weeks.
Last week, ‘ZR’ driver Kelroy Alexander, 53, made a routine stop to let off a passenger along Inch Marlow, Christ Church, when the passenger shot him while trying to rob him. Alexander survived but had to undergo emergency surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
This morning, Haynes extended his association’s sympathies to the grieving Agard family, while urging the PSV operators and the public to exercise greater vigilance.
The spokesman said: “AOPT extends its deepest sympathies to bereaved the family and our prayers and support are assured in this tragic incident.
“We condemn this level of brutal attack on all workers in the industry, whether they are ZR drivers, conductors, taxi drivers or commuters.
“We urge all workers in the industry to be ever vigilant to avert any criminal attack being exercised on them, be it day or night.
“These persons work very hard in an effort to move the island’s commuters, thus ensuring that they get home safely.
“So, any level of attack on them must be strongly condemned.”