New wine in old wineskin LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Guyana Chronicle
January 21, 2002

“You cannot put new wine in old wineskin”. Mini buses must be gradually hauled off our roads forever.

This institutionalised lawlessness on our roads, which has been mounting, seems at least to be moving the Minister of Home Affairs to rush new legislation to parliament to abate the high death rate due to this factor. I am happy also that the situation has finally caused heavyweights such as Mr Norma Mc Lean to add his voice and pen to the need to act quickly, sensibly and urgently.

What I find lacking in all the new measures though, is that they seem content to leave on the roads as the main form of transportation the very means which over the past few years have become primarily responsible for this state of affairs. I refer to the mini buses, which suddenly appeared in Guyana a few years ago, replacing larger buses.

For one thing the fact that these buses are so small implies that to transport a given volume of passengers per day, they must be more of them on the roads than if larger buses were used. I am not advocating a return to the large tata buses. But surely, the more medium sized buses that are now used predominantly on the Linden - Georgetown leg, are much more suitable to Guyana’s roads. These buses present several advantages over mini buses:

The police will have fewer bus drivers, and buses to monitor and regulate

The automatic suicidal mentality, which comes by being a mini bus driver will be minimised. Accidents on the Linden Highway are much less with the advent of the Sparta Global and other services

There will be much more order on our roads with the use of these medium sized buses, if the authorities also ensure that buses stop only at Bus Stops. In this regard, I hope that among all the measures soon to be implemented that Formal Bus Stops will be established at specific points and that it would be illegal for a bus to stop for passengers other than at a formal Bus Stop.

To achieve the gradual removal of mini-buses off the roads, must be an objective of

the new age, and the authorities must therefore allow a period for them to be phased out.

I cannot see how leaving the mini buses on the road as the principal form of

Transportation will radically change the traffic situation. “You cannot put new wine in old wineskin”.