Mini-buses resume normal operations
Guyana Chronicle
February 5, 2002

MINI-BUSES operating from parks in the city were back in operation yesterday, but drivers plying the Kitty/Campbellville route were not allowed to remain in their park.

A group of mainly women who were protesting the detention by police of controversial former TV talk show host Mark Benschop, blocked the entrance to the park and mini-bus operators had to stop and put off and quickly solicit passengers.

Benschop, who last Friday led a convoy of mini-buses on the East Bank Demerara road in the `boom boom' (big music boxes) protest, was yesterday detained at the Brickdam Police Station and is likely to be charged with conducting an illegal procession, noise nuisance, and dangerous driving.

He was granted station bail of $20,000.

Mini-bus operators last week stayed off the Georgetown-Rosignol and several other routes protesting the police campaign against the `boom boom' boxes in the vehicles.

There was tightened police security at the Kitty/Campbellville mini-bus park yesterday. A police officer on the scene told the Chronicle that the protesting women stood in front the mini-buses, preventing these from entering the reserved parking area.

He said one person was charged for puncturing a tyre on a mini-bus.

Protesters last week punctured the tyres of several mini-buses that were not in the strike.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, yesterday told a news conference that Cabinet had noted the reaction of mini-bus drivers and operators last week.

"Their illegal and unlawful behaviour and their acts of intimidation were understandably condemned by Cabinet and the Minister of Home Affairs is urged to have law and order and public safety respected", he said.

He added that the basis for the behaviour of the mini-bus operators remained unclear, but noted there were reports of dissatisfaction with the size of fines imposed for contravening the law and reports of rejection of the use of seat belts.

"Nevertheless, the Minister of Home Affairs undertook to respond to those concerns and Cabinet reiterated that in any collision between public safety and financial security of mini-bus operators, it would, un-apologetically take the side of public safety", Luncheon assured.