Minibus drivers face a lot of pressure
Stabroek News
February 5, 2002

Dear Editor,

I am amazed that a singular (perceived) nuisance like loud music should cause such chaos. Equally disgusting is the manner in which irresponsible politicians, to gain cheap mileage, join in the lawlessness.

There are a few lessons to learn here. One is that any Tom, Dick and Harry can hold the government and people to ransom, even by illegal actions. Two, an innate complacency by the Minister of Home Affairs who has sat for years on this problem waiting for it to hatch into a serpent, which he now suddenly decides to kill. Three, the whole affair was handled without sense and sensitivity. When you allow an occurrence to develop into a practice, and then into a norm, and an institutionalized culture, you cannot use brute force and ignorance to tackle it head on. A dialectical approach in turning it around is required. Like a plane in mid air, or any vehicle for that matter, it cannot stop and make an instant 180 degree turn. It must accomplish the 180 by small accumulations.

In terms of sensitivity, show appreciation for the drivers and the huge sums they invest in music. Does anyone, but the taxi drivers, realize how stressful the job is? Can all of us deal with the problems of jaywalkers, other irresponsible drivers, unscrupulous passengers, potholes, policemen, and mechanical upkeep of the vehicle, twelve hours in a hundred degrees heat and still keep our cool? Give out awards to good drivers, offer coffee free at police stations. How about companies giving free or discount tyres? Use more reward rather than big stick methods to gain compliance. Trust me, you'll get more than compliance. How about respect, credibility and votes?

But generally speaking, the boom boom explosion is not just about loud music. It is symptomatic of deeper issues which the government, like the proverbial ostrich, is heedless to. It is also about mindless politicians who advocate for rights without responsibilities, live without let living, about partisan growth without national development, about copying foreign culture without creating cultured citizenry, about freedom without fairness.

These are not the pillars on which great nations are built. Daily my perception of Guyana takes a beating.

Yours faithfully,

Gokarran Sukhdeo

Editor's note

There were several efforts over the years to tackle the problem of loud music in minibuses which is both unpleasant to many passengers and dangerous. Some drivers have continued to break the law.