Police to put hold on seating law enforcement pending revision
- President meets minibus operators/owners
Guyana Chronicle
January 28, 2004

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THE Guyana Police force will be holding off on the enforcement of the regulations of the seating capacity of minibuses, which dates back to the 1960s. The regulations are contained in the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, and the Road Traffic Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation).

This follows a meeting between the Head of State and minibus operators/owners from across the country earlier today at the Office of the President. The minibus operators and owners requested the meeting with President Bharrat Jagdeo to discuss their concerns about the enforcing of the seating capacity regulations.

Present at the Meeting were Minister of Home Affairs Ronald Gajraj, Police Commissioner (ag) Floyd Mc Donald and Traffic Chief (ag) Superintendent Michael Harlequin.

According to Superintendent Harlequin, the enforcement of the seating capacity will be put in abeyance until a revision of the regulations be done.

"What will now be done is that arrangements will be put in place to ensure that the Traffic Officers do not enforce this law until the revision is done," Harlequin said.

He noted that the enforcement of the law has been deferred until it has been revised and passed in the National Assembly.

Police Commissioner McDonald said the revision process will start shortly and will see thorough consultations being held with all stakeholders, including minibus operators and owners to ensure satisfactory resolutions.

"We hope that meaningful and amicable solution be found to the problem," Mc Donald said.

Minister Gajraj pointed out that the law has been in existence for 40 odd years and as such the President has exercised leniency based on the clamour by the minibus operators and owners. The holding off on the enforcement is until the law has been revised.

"For a great number of those years the law was not being enforced. However the President made it clear to them that the fact that the Police will ease on the enforcement of the law is only temporary until the entire law is revised," the Home Affairs Minister said.

Meanwhile, the Minister said, President Jagdeo strongly spoke to the minibus operators about the manner in which they deliver this public service and urged full compliance with all other existing traffic laws.

"The President used the opportunity to discuss with them issues relating to overloading; the calibre of drivers that operates minibuses; the mode of operation in the sense as to how they dress, their attitude, loud music in the minibuses, speeding of minibuses and even some drivers who might drink and drive. They President discussed those aspects with them," the Minister said.

Commenting on the minibus operators/owners response, Minister Gajraj said "they are satisfied that the Police would issue fitness subject to the bus being authorized roadworthy and the issue of the seating capacity will be address at a later date when the revision is completed."

Gladstone Drepaul an operator on Route 44 noted that the "President's response was favourable and will help the travelling public a lot." Expressing gratitude, Drepaul said this will ease a lot of transportation problem in his operating zone.

Another operator of the same route, Chatterpaul Singh said, "What the President decided will help all the minibus operators and benefit the entire country."

Kwesi Lawrence of route 41 also expressed gratitude for the extension. Representative of route 63 Lincoln Gildhari said the President's decision will "benefit all owners/operators," and the discussion was very informative and "helpful."

There were about 20 minibus operators and owners in attendance at today's meeting from various routes including 32, 44, 41, 63 & 50.