Six more 'boom boom' bus drivers fined
Guyana Chronicle
January 24, 2002

`Long ago we used to do campaigns; now we are doing daily traffic enforcement exercises and this is going to be a continuous something...' - Traffic Chief Fred Wilson
SIX more mini-bus drivers were fined $30,000 each at Blairmont Magistrate's Court, West Bank Berbice, yesterday, as Police continued the campaign against 'boom boom' (big music) boxes and other noise making instruments in motor vehicles for public transport.

In this, the second group this week, were Lindsay Walters, of Farm and Parishnauth Tetra, of Huntley, both in Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara; Mohamed Ameer and Keith Winter, of Numbers 79 and 50 villages, respectively and Nazim Khan, of Albion, all on Corentyne, East Berbice and Gilbert Mingo, of Belladrum, West Coast Berbice.

The fines were imposed by Magistrate Kumar Doraisami, who inspected the buses, detained in Blairmont Police Station compound, before deciding on the penalties.

The defendants all pleaded guilty to failing to comply with Condition 18 of their road service licences, which states, among other things, that the licensee and the driver or conductor shall not have affixed or carried in the vehicle any stereo set or instrument of music unless approved by the Prescribed Authority.

A seventh bus driver, Rickford Nivenkirk, from Georgetown, had the charge against him dismissed after the magistrate found that, although his vehicle has speakers, it did not contain any stereo equipment or compact disc (CD) player through which they could be activated.

The others, who admitted having such items, including extra large speakers under the seats of the buses, were ordered to pay the monetary penalties immediately or serve 12 weeks imprisonment individually.

Three drivers, similarly convicted on Monday and could not pay the money, were sent to jail as the alternative punishment.

Traffic Chief, Mr. Fred Wilson said the exercise was stepped-up Monday.

"Since then a lot of persons were caught committing various offences. Charges were laid and they were put before the court," Wilson told the Chronicle in a telephone interview Tuesday.

"We will continue to look at all forms of traffic offences on a daily basis until road users start to adhere to the laws and the traffic situation is brought back to acceptable standards," he said.

He noted that some of the offences for which persons have been charged so far, and on which the traffic enforcement exercise will be focussed are dangerous and careless driving, obstruction, bad parking, defective lights, overloading, excessive speeding, people who breach their insurance and unlicensed drivers.

Wilson said too that the maximum penalty will be enforced when persons are caught with big `boom boom' boxes in mini-buses.

He said the campaign is aimed at ensuring that all aspects of the traffic laws are observed and adhered to.

The Traffic Chief said specific attention will be paid during the exercise to the offences of "excessive speeding, overloading, and loud music", with particular reference to mini-buses.

According to Wilson, the exercise is not a "campaign" any more as such, but has taken the form of a "daily, rigid traffic enforcement" exercise.

"Long ago we used to do campaigns; now we are doing daily traffic enforcement exercises and this is going to be a continuous something..."

Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Ronald Gajraj last week announced that `boom boom' boxes regulations are to be enforced as a matter of priority.

This will see the sets which belt out music in mini-buses being "seized and forfeited," he reported.

However, in terms of confiscating the `boom boom' boxes, Wilson said this will depend on the ruling of the court. He said when seized by the Police, the music boxes are presented as exhibits in the courtroom to show what kind of `boom boom' boxes were in the mini-bus.

He indicated that the courts have to rule if these boxes will be given back to the drivers/owners of the mini-buses. (CLIFFORD STANLEY/MARK RAMOTAR)