Government Can't Do It Alone!

Vic Fernandes, Chief Executive Officer of Starcom Network.

Vic Fernandes, Chief Executive Officer of Starcom Network - Source: Nation Newspaper

Barbadians for the most part have given high marks to the government for introducing free bus rides to school children under 18 years old. The only requirement is that the child is wearing a school uniform or show a school pass to benefit. The Democratic Labour Party is no stranger to introducing bold initiatives of the social variety; free education and school meals are other pioneering social initiatives which come to mind. It should be noted that history has been positive about the impact which free education has had on the Barbados society. Our high educational standards have been linked to the political stability of Barbados, export of labour and the enfranchisement of our people in a post-independence era.

It is obvious that the introduction of free bus rides to school children is a public good which has been designed to target the mushrooming deviant behaviour among our youth population. While the government has been quick to deny that the initiative targets negative behaviour associated with the ZR culture, the BU household is not convinced. For too long, and certainly under the reign of the former government the PSV’s were allowed to terrorize Barbados. The culture had become so embedded that it easily nullified the attempt by the Royal Barbados Police Force to bring order. Don’t we remember Operation Road Traffic Maintenance? The time has come to fight back. Until the PSVs start a program to efficiently self-regulate they will continue to feel the brunt of public policy. No amount of talk about poor black man and people losing jobs will stop the process. The time for talk is done.

Having stated the above we believe that more still needs to be done to protect this future generation from itself. Too often we rely on government to do it all, but what can other stakeholders in the country do to assist in the fight against deviant behaviour among our youth and wider society?

We believe that the David Thompson government is leading by example by rolling out the policy of free bus rides which seeks to push the value bar upwards. Other stakeholders in the country need to follow his lead. One business sector which can assist are the radio stations. We know that our favourite moderator Dennis Johnson visits BU and hopefully maybe provoked to contribute directly or indirectly. For too long Voice of Barbados and other radio stations have been recruiting DJ’s on their popular 95.3 FM, 98.1 and other  stations who are known associates of the dancehall underground. These DJ’s who are enormously popular on the radio stations, and whose programs generate huge revenues for the station are known for their recordings of filth and mixes which they pass as music. This music is lapped-up by our PSVs and is a big drawing card not only among school children but a wider audience.

The big question we have for VOB 92.9 and Dennis Johnson, who we understand is in charge of radio, why do you recruit DJs who are known to be involved in creating some of the filth played as music on the PSVs and in the dancehalls around Barbados? Don’t you have some kind of moral responsibility as a good corporate citizen in Barbados? Please do not tell us that you are not aware of some of the unsavoury activities of your DJs.

We suggest that the answer maybe found if your discuss with your Chief Operating Officer  Vic Fernandes,  it is called MONEY!


  • The type of music (lyrics) that I hear playing on some radio stations both VOB ans CBC is very offensive. A jamaican once told me that a lot of songs played on the stations in Barbados are banned in Jamaica. If we’re cleaning up an act let’s do an entire clean up. these young peopleare the adults of the future, please don’t corrupt their little minds any more.


  • The Government(s) could easily stop the unruly PSV behavior if they wished. It’s clear they don’t have the balls to do it. As simple a measure as – “3 ‘reports’ and your licence is suspended for 6 months” will quickly curb most of it.


  • David, This is one brilliant contribution indeed and I fully agree with you that VOB, ONE MEDIA has to hold a large part of the blame for this sickening culture that we are seeing.

    Credit must also go to The Prime Minister Hon Mr.David Thompson for his willingness to take the bull by the horns and say look enough is enough, something that you would never have seen mottley try to undertake because for her catching votes was her prime mission to that end she was willing and did partake in breaking the law in smoking herb with the Rastas in her area, not hearsay but rather a fact of life when you have person like her that people should look up to acting in such a low life manner where would you expect society to be led to???

    Let us wait to see what those like ONE MEDIA have to say and more importantly how they respond to this matter, they need to clean up their act if they are to be looked at seriously.


  • With the removal of bus fares from the hands of the children it also removes the cash money that was diverted to buying herb on the same minibuses and ZR’s


  • Centipede,
    The previous gov’t could have stopped this callous behaviour by the minibus personnel but refused to do so over the years. This gov’t have taken a first step. Let us see if the minibus personnel are going to clean up their act. If not it will then be incumbent on this gov’t to have the relevant agencies apply the necessary pressure.


  • WIV is it not widely talked about in Bim that a certain member of the ruling party also fortook in the smoking of herb and other activities with members of his constituency as well???is that not breaking the law as well


  • we want to stop the lewd behaviour on psv etc,yet when that time of year comes (crop over) the same adults caryr on and display vulgur behaviour.On one side we are trying to be role models and shape society a certain way,yet from May to June it is do as you want time.


  • sorry i meant may to august


  • As far as I have been informed

    The DLP introduced ZRs
    so dont blame one side (BLP) only for the problems with ZRs

    lets have some balance nuh !!
    and stop blaming blaming
    we all have a rsponsiblity


    We just want things to happen but we dont want to lift a finger to help

    If prices go up we want the government to do something but we refuse to help ourselves , we refuse to boycott or protest against high prices


  • Was’nt Sparrow of earlier generations “smutty music ” too?


  • With the removal of bus fares from the hands of the children it also removes the cash money that was diverted to buying herb on the same minibuses and ZR’s
    This is a very reckless statement coming from you. But again, that is is your style. The real movement of contraband drugs are manipulated within the gated community, the heights and terraces. School children might just be 1% of the drug culture if so much. So please, use real logic to get to your point or partisan promotion.


  • It has become more than music, it is how it has become intermingled with PSVs and created a sub-culture which can be cut with a knife.


  • Administrators sometimes do not want to be too prescriptive, as to what people can and cannot do; as it can alienate those whose behaviour you wish to change. However, it is possible to create conditions in which the desired outcome can be seen as preferable, if it can be demonstrated that this new behaviour pattern is of benefit to society as a whole.

    Over time this new behaviour will become the norm as it replaces aggressive and other dysfunctional patterns.

    The allowing of school children in uniform to travel free on the buses, is such an initiative, although it might be prudent to say the main focus is the financial benefit to deserving parents.

    The long term social benefits of this initiative, might make that short term financial saving pale into insignificance.

    For those reasons I see the new travel arrangements for school children as a bold and intelligent policy, despite what is being said to the contrary by some.


  • In the Democratic Labour Party’s Election Manifesto of 2008, there is NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the segment on TRANSPORTATION and INFRASTRUCTURE, on pgs 30-31, that so remotely speaks to the possibility of the introduction of so-called free bus rides on Transport Board buses for school children in uniform, et al. Who would believe that this is a party that has been existing for over 53 years, but that is now without many of its own workable ideas? And that is one that gave us free education and school meals?

    As a matter of fact, so disingenuous, anemic and visionless are most of the leaders and principals of this present DLP that they NOT ONLY FAILED TO come up with this so-called free school ride idea, BUT ALSO THEY FAILED to HIGHLIGHT ANYTHING in that Manifesto concerning the controversial ZR and Minibus sub-cultures as a whole. But, of course, they would have long known about the serious and rampant indiscipline, loud, lewd and violent-strewn music that are often witnessed by thousands upon thousands of people whilst these vans are operating on the roads, but which have to be socially legally helped eradicated to eventually make the these subsectors appear of greater integrity and viability in the eyes of the majority of publics in Barbados!!!!

    So, by seeking to derive just MAXIMUM POLITICAL CAPITAL from the introduction of this so-called free school ride idea/policy, and just MAXIMUM POLITICAL CAPITAL from making many owners, operators and conductors within the ZR and Minibus sub-sectors believe that there could have been NOTHING inserted in that 2008 Election Manifesto – when this has clearly NOT been the case – to eventually help them and the travelling public, such as, policies to deal with the many of the negatives of the ZR and Minibus sub-cultures, has led the PDC to properly conclude that the major leaders and principals in the DLP are mainly thinking about themselves and their own narrow electoral political aims and objectives, rather than the developmental affairs of the country.

    Moreso, we in PDC do know that NOT ONLY this DLP Government BUT ALSO the immediate former BLP Government have been offensively malovently using this wicked, evil, demonic and anti-democratic TAXATION system to HELP FURTHER DECIMATE the still very financially efficient ZR and Minibus sub-sectors, on some joke and flimsy pretext that the ZR and Minibus sub-sectors need to be morally and socially disciplined, whilst they – these governments – continue – in the case of this DLP Government, or continued – in the case of the former BLP Government – to ignore many social legal engineering techniques to help bring about greater moral and social discipline and order in these sub-sectors.

    Finally, instead of leading the way in making sure that these subsectors -which help comprise a very important and major money earning domestic sector – the Public Transportation Sector – which itself is the ONLY major productive sector in the country in which there is a very significant degree of black ownership and control – are put on the right path, both DLP and BLP Governments have been helping to systematically wickedly undermine the functioning of these very important black dominated sub-sectors. And many black people seem – OUT OF PURE IGNORANCE AND MALICE – to like what these backward oppressive black governments have been doing to these black enterprises!!

    Surely, we in the PDC encourage those owners, operators and conductors that have been so disadvantaged by DLP and BLP policies to come and help us get the broad masses and middle classes of voters to get the rid of these insidious DLP and BLP Governments of this country!!!



  • The free bus rides should be seen for what they are a political gimmick aimed at getting votes.


  • Interesting….

    One: People in glass houses should not throw stones: At least we know what Mia is…

    Two: Wouldn’t special bus passes issued by the Welfare Dept. be a much easier commitment then making hardship for the hard working adults that have to get to and from work on limited buses? Also, the HUGE burden on the taxed taxpayers in this country? Thompy making sure to kill off the middle class.

    Three: When was the last time anyone on this blog caught a ZR / Minibus? Whenever I have to travel I almost get sick when the weed smoke hits me. They smoke in broad daylight without a care. I even know a few vans that smoke up while on rout! Although it is the norm, it must be said that it is only perpetuated by a few and must be stamped out by upgrading the infrastructures and policing them properly.

    Four: Test the drivers of PSVs periodically and randomly. Once caught with drugs and or alcohol in the blood stream, they should get a suspension.

    Five: One of the problems with the PSVs is the corruption; Check how many judges, lawyers, policemen, POLICIANS… own them. Run the traffic court with a judge that does NOT own a PSV!


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  • In my view the ZR cluture has gone on too long, to expect that a government can make a change to this situation after years of abuse to the society. The people who are currently engaged in the ZR activity are now are the decendents of thoes who were the first perpertratiors, they do not know how to behave any better because the were not guided by any good examples to follow in the first place. It is unfortunate that our children are usualy the ones who are lured by this activity and find it attractive. They are no excuses for braking the laws of any country and the penalty for braking the laws are decided by the law courts and the law makers. The governments are the law makers in the region and it is evident that the ZR culture exist in other places in the caribbean Therefore governments are the ones who should be held accountable for these abusive ZR cultures which exist in our regions. At this stage any Government who would dares at this stage try to bring autrority to the ZR culture will have to have big balls to do it. I am not saying it cannot be done, but it would mean that specific regulations regarding the operation of PSV’s would have to be put in place and government would have to find the resources to police these regulations both on the streets and in the law courts. I beleve this is a culture whch has been allowed to bloom because of political influences, and situations in this country wich which were bred by political influences convinently never have an ending.


  • The ZR culture has been transferred to the state owned system. Many ex-ZR drivers now drive Transport Board buses. These drivers put on the RIGHT indicator when stopping at a bus stop. They don’t pull into the layby if there’s one. They drive at excessive speeds and bob in and out of traffic. Worse of all, I’ve witness one guy driving and on his cellphone in deep converstion and the bus full of passengers. i once spoke to some-one at the Transport Board about the behaviour and I was told there are some untouchables, who threatens anyone who complains for them and there is a hearing. Apperently this has happened before and after the hearing, where all the individuals are together, the complianent is harrassed and even threatened by the drivers posse. Even the managers at the Board seem to be afraid of them


  • Thank you for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your
    further post thanks once again.


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