Owners of public service vehicles (PSVs) have been challenged to set higher standards when it comes to hiring drivers and conductors.
The call has come from chairman of the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO) Kenneth Best, who told Barbados TODAY that owners must be more responsible when choosing people to work on their vehicles.
His comments follow the arrest of four PSV operators who were subsequently charged with threatening unlawful violence towards each other in a manner that caused other persons present to fear for their personal safety.
The charges stemmed from a fight that allegedly took place aboard a PSV vehicle on October 2 – a video of which was circulated via social media.
The four operators – 27-year-old Andre Jamar Atkins of No. 3 Sands Drive, Pilgrim Road, Christ Church; 23-year-old Shaquille O’Shane O’Neil Scott of Upper Weston, St James; 34-year-old Dacian Kirt Omar Griffith of Church Gap, Hillaby, St Andrew; and 38-year-old Elvis Felix Sam of Edgecumbe Tenantry, St Philip – pleaded not guilty when they appeared in court.
Best, an attorney-at-law, called on the employers of those PSV workers to take action.
“I believe in law and order; there must be law and order. People just can’t take it upon themselves to continue to breach law and order and believe that they will have the support of any organization that I am part and parcel of.
“It is now left to the particular owners of those vehicles – and I’m not sure if they are members of APTO or not – to take disciplinary action against them. It is up to the owners of those vehicles to do that,” Best told Barbados TODAY.
He contended that while the majority of people working in the industry were decent individuals, there were others who needed to be weeded out.
Best admitted, though, that was easier said than done, since there were many people trying to make a dollar.
“But until we set higher standards in relation to who works in the industry, all of those issues will still be knocking about the place,” he said.
Public relations officer for the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) Mark Haynes also condemned the alleged behaviour of the four PSV workers.
He said the relevant associations were continually trying to change the image of the sector, and incidents such as those were damaging.
“It only takes one or two bad apples to spoil the whole bunch. We are trying our best and we are asking persons to behave themselves and obey the law and try to calm their heads. But when you get these kinds of incidents, then the public starts saying negative things about the whole PSV industry,” Haynes lamented.
“We are urging PSV operators to try not to get embroiled in any controversy that would bring the sector into disrepute. We hope that others would desist from getting involved in these kinds of controversies,” he added.