The mini bus battle To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
January 30, 2002


The people of Guyana are engaged in a battle, and I am not referring to organized post election masquerades nor am I thinking of the street brawls which try to pass itself of as legitimate protests. Guyana's battle is much more basic than any of that. It is a battle between Good and Evil.
Good, not meaning the "Godly" but rather Good as portrayed by those who embrace modernism, advancement, an evolved consciousness and morality.
And evil, not meaning those who share communion with a horned interloper, but rather evil as practiced by those who militantly defend ignorance.
Everyday, this battle is played out in the streets and on TV talk shows and earlier this week some striking minibus operators joined the ranks already in combat.
News reports said they attacked a bus at Foulis which carried two ailing passengers seeking medical care.
Such deeds are evil; it could have resulted in the death of two innocent people.
"At one point a noxious substance was sprayed in the crowd creating panic and confusion," one newspaper report said. "Passengers were hijacked from vehicles, which were forced to join the protest and those who resisted had their vehicles punctured by the protesters who became unruly . . . Operators were seen drinking beers and other beverages and some prevented those who weren't on the strike from working." When one pictures this scenario it is not too difficult to envision old Lucifer overlooking such lawlessness.

One bus operator said that music helped him to keep his cool during off peak hours. One wonders whether the garbage spewed out by mini bus boom boxes can be regarded as music. The bus operator should consider reading a book during off peak hours (he can even brush up on the road traffic manual.)

Nowhere in the world, but Guyana, would people have the gall to demand that they be allowed to ferry passengers in mobile clubs and discos.

In educated societies, passengers requiring music equip themselves with personal CD/tape players and headphones. Surely these bus operators have heard of the small devices called a "walkman." A survey of any transportation system in the civilized world will show modern people making use of such instruments. They can hear clear music without disturbing their fellow passengers.

A recent article in a popular scientific journal reported that inattention, like during the time it takes a driver to change an audiocassette, is far too long and the inattentive driver becomes a hazard to other drivers, pedestrians and to his own passengers.

For instance, it takes about one-and-a-half seconds to glance at a speedometer, and in this time, doing just 60 mph a driver would have traveled 150 feet! Do any of our mini bus drivers go as slow as 60 mph on the highway? It takes very much longer than a few seconds to change a CD or cassette. How long do you think that a driver engaged in this activity would have travelled without paying attention to the road?

The use of cell phones is also a major hazard. The traffic department needs to look at this growing menace. In developed countries only hands free devices are allowed for drivers.

As for this so-called strike by mini bus operators I say the government need only announce that it plans to re-import Tata buses and recreate a proper public transportation system. In no time the partying will be over and they will get back into the serious business of making a living.
Lutchman Gossai