The PSV Sector Needs Help
Legislation is on the way to make public service vehicle (PSV) owners accountable for traffic offences committed by their drivers – Nation Newspaper
Last week Minister of Transport John Boyce held a press conference to promise legislation to rollout the breathalyser, ban cellphone use while driving and provide for electronic vehicle registration. Empty promise or not time will tell. BU took special interest in Boyce’s promise to ‘bring’ legislation which will make owners of PSVs responsible for the offences committed by their drivers. In this instance BU confidently predicts this legislation will not be proclaimed in Barbados anytime soon.
It is regrettable that a business which in the early days was seen as a legitimate Black business has now been bought into and greatly influenced by big business. BU understands that if the names of the owners of PSVs were to be made public Barbadians would be very surprised. Why is it a permit issued to person X can be sold and or be operated by person Y? We therefore have a situation in Barbados where if the owner of the permit is made public an entirely different person is actually ‘operating’ the permit.
Is Minister Boyce saying if he introduced legislation to make the owner accountable for the offences of the driver, it is the original owner of the permit who will be held responsible or the person renting or who has purchased the permit?
Would it not make for a sensible policy if Minister Boyce made it illegal for PSV permits to be operated by any other than who the permit was issued? How about limiting the number of permits owned by a single person? There needs to be more transparency in the ownership of the PSV sector. Is it true there is an ‘Indian Man’ who owns a significant number of PSVs in Barbados? Is it true several PSVs are own by a ‘White Bajan’ reputed to be the daughter of one of the richest men in Barbados? We know politicians, some sitting in parliament, who operate PSVs. How does the ownership factor correlates with the visible indiscipline of the sector?
It is important to make the ownership of the PSV license a transparent affair because Barbadians are in a better position to understand and question indiscipline in the sector. Is it not ironic if Barbadians were to find out that some of our most outstanding citizens are stakeholders in the sector? While wearing the hat of prominent and virtuous citizens by day at night the indiscipline of the sector is condoned for the sake of the almighty dollar. Of course Barbados is a small place and BU can question why some buses are harassed while plying respective routes and others get a ‘pass’. Why is it some of these ‘absentee owners’ given the problems of the sector do not step forward and lend their leadership and management skills to the association?
The recent upheaval in the Minibus and ZR Association which has seen some changes to the executive reflects why the sector is unsettled. Perhaps Minister Boyce could tell the public what the Transport Authority is doing to make the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO) a reality? Why have successive governments been unable to efficiently provide oversight and leadership to the PSV sector? Why is it not mandatory for all minibus and PSV owners to be members of an association which would make it better to regulate the sector?
The subculture which is driven by the unruliness of the minibus and ZR sector is threatening to destabilize our once stable society. It is time Barbadians, if we are serious about pulling back from the brink, step up and show leadership in yet another area of society gone to the dogs!