Conductor stabbed over passengers
UG/Industry bus route dispute
December 28, 2003
A simmering dispute between drivers plying the UG/ Industry routes boiled over on Christmas Eve when a conductor was stabbed in a fight over two passengers.
Dennis Samuels also known as 'Buck' of Sophia is nursing stab wounds to the abdomen at the Georgetown Hospital following an altercation with a minibus driver. Samuels reportedly sustained the injuries after he attempted to make peace in a dispute that stemmed from the loading of a minibus.
An eyewitness, who sells at the bus park, told Stabroek News that Samuels was sitting at his stand having a drink as the minibus was loading. He said that a tout was helping him out with the passengers, a norm for the park.
He recalled that a fight then broke out between the tout and a driver. According to him, Samuels's relative became involved and tensions started to rise. He explained that Samuels then went over to make peace.
The man said that an argument then erupted between Samuels and his assailant who drew a knife and stabbed him in the abdomen. According to the eyewitness, the act was so swift it was not clear whether the conductor was injured or not. He said Samuels then came over to his stand and said he was stabbed. He thought Samuels was joking since he appeared to be fine but then Samuels showed him the stab wound before collapsing and being rushed to the hospital.
The man said the conductor had received two pints of blood and needed another pint. He said that the continuing disagreement between the drivers was likely to end in murder if the authorities did not look into the matter.
Several minibus drivers and conductors said much the same when Stabroek News visited the UG/Industry bus park yesterday. One driver disclosed that less than a year ago he suffered a broken arm during one of the regular brawls at the park.
He said that when the university was in session drivers would usually ply both UG and Industry. However, when UG closes those who regularly carry students on campus are barred from transporting passengers to Industry resulting in a continuing feud. According to the man, drivers who run the Industry route would work both areas whenever UG is open without any disapproval.
The man said that despite numerous complaints to the traffic department and the police force no effort had been made to resolve the problem. Neil Semple of the Police Traffic Department told this newspaper the problem was one the drivers had to resolve among themselves, since it was a matter of them being able to regulate their route in a fair manner.
Driver, Parmanand Heralall, said that the situation at the park was not likely to improve any time soon. He said unless there was police intervention, more blood could flow since the feuding drivers were determined to have things their way.
Heralall, who runs the Industry route, said he saw no reason why the UG drivers could not also ply the Industry route. He pointed out that like him they too had families to support.