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Dottin: Don’t pass the buck


MIKE KING

Dottin: Don’t pass the buck

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COMMISSIONER of Police Darwin Dottin has dismissed calls from the ZR and minibus community to charge commuters who contribute to traffic congestion.Speaking at a special general meeting held by the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO) at Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St Michael, Dottin responded to this call by accusing the public service operators of “passing the buck”.“It seems like passing the buck. If drivers did not stop at places other than bus stops, commuters could not get on. Therein lies the problem. If the operators refuse to condone that sort of behaviour, that would bring it under control,” he said.Before an audience that included APTO president Morris Lee and Anglican priest Reverend Errington Massiah, Dottin said that drivers must set a standard whereby all of them, and not some, observed traffic regulations.“It (traffic regulations) will only work if that’s the standard right across the industry. If King does not stop at bus stops and Dottin stops, it may be that King gets the business to the exclusion of Dottin, so that they have to set standards across the industry,” he said.Dottin’s response was to calls by members of the industry to hold the travelling public accountable, along with the owners and drivers.The commissioner questioned whether it made good sense to play “lewd music” just to attract a certain element of the population.“There are opportunities for Barbadians right across the society to use their service if it is viewed as reliable and safe and possessing a manner of decorum and civility,” he said.The quality of policing came in for heavy criticism from the mini-bus and ZR operators. One veteran driver said he was “very disappointed” with the police force and added that attempting to have a meeting with the commissioner was “like climbing Mount Everest without a rope”. Operator Ian Walcott said he had been abused and harassed by police, and acknowledged that both sides had much work to do.“The same way we need to clean up our act, the police have to do the same,” Walcott said.Dottin admitted the quality of policing by some of his men left something to be desired.“I don’t think that the Royal Barbados Police Force is perfect. There is good work by some officers and some of the work from some officers leaves things to be desired,” he said.One driver said it was tough to go to Bridgetown with two people and he and his colleagues were forced to hustle to make ends meet. Driver Roger Hercules said there was much chaos in the Cheapside bus terminal and demanded that the police clamp down on loiterers, some of whom he felt were drug addicts.“In the Cheapside terminal,  honest working people have to fight to get a single passenger in a van at $1.50 over a 12-hour period. I am annoyed that there are policemen acting on your behalf (the commissioner), in the terminal, behaving unprofessionally. “They (police) don’t understand that they are security officers and they concern the Crown. They are not just normal security guards. They are police officers who intermingle with the drug addicts in those terminals. Police officers act unprofessionally and that is why we have a number of problems.”

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