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EDITORIAL: Backing Board to protect its drivers


BARBADOS NATION

EDITORIAL: Backing Board to protect its drivers

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OUR TRANSPORT BOARD DRIVERS are tasked every day with the responsibility of keeping the travelling public safe.

For many of them, their main source of concern, as they get behind the wheel, would be to avoid vehicular accidents that would not only leave them at risk, but also their passengers travelling on the bus.

However, we recently learnt that the drivers have another concern – the threat to their own safety from mindless violent acts.

The Transport Board’s manager of marketing and corporate communications, Lynda Holder, disclosed last Sunday that the drivers were not only being threatened, but were the subject of verbal and physical attacks. Sadly, these attacks are mainly committed by schoolchildren, and worse yet, those in first, second and third forms at secondary schools.

In essence, students are exhibiting traits of violence from a very young age, being openly abusive while showing no respect for adults. This is a problem not just for the Transport Board alone, but for the wider society and which, if left unaddressed, will create major issues for the country down the road.

The violence and vandalism also meant potential threats and dangers to the travelling public, as their safety is ultimately in the hands of drivers who sit with their backs turned to any possible attacks.

The attacks raise questions about thetype of children we are raising and behaviours we are condoning.

While many may argue against the criminalisation of children, we believe these physical acts cannot go unpunished. Even the youth must recognise their reckless actions and must pay for crimes committed.

In this vein, we agree wholeheartedly with Ms Holder’s suggestion that in cases where youth commit such crimes, their parents would be called in and given two options – either that they sign a document indicating they will cover the cost of repairs – including the loss of use of the vehicle, or face a possible criminal case. The Board cannot afford to take this matter lightly and must take every precaution to protect its employees.

It is for this reason that the proposed campaign to stamp out the escalation of these attacks, and vandalism of buses, which are the property of the Crown, is welcomed. It is hoped a sustained effort involving the media will nip this worrying and dangerous trend in the bud.

Drivers must feel comfortable and secure while driving buses, knowing that the safety of the passengers are in their hands. No effort must be spared to ensure that those who every day rely on public transportation, can travel in peace, without fear of danger of rock-throwing, and verbal or physical attacks from anyone, far less some of our schoolchildren.

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