by Donella Hosten
The past few weeks have been increasingly stressful and frustrating for some bus operators, and they are calling for better treatment.
Bus operators have been calling on authorities to listen to their plight, especially as it relates to judgments handed down by the Magistrate at the Traffic Court, Jerry Seales.
In a meeting held at the Carenage on Sunday, 9 October 2016, some of the Grand Anse bus operators and owners put forward some of their grievances and issues, including the suspension of drivers’ licences, excessive sentencing and fines, and the removal of certain bus stops.
The bus operators believe that this is an abuse of power. They are questioning the rationale behind Seales’ judgements, and are calling for his removal from the Traffic Court.
‘Chanti’, one of the Grand Anse bus drivers whose licence was revoked for more than a year, was also charged $6,000 on the spot by Magistrate Seales. Drivers are asking what they are supposed to do when they can no longer drive to make their daily living. President of the Grand Anse Bus Association, Roger Telesford, said they are tired of being victimised.
Another matter raised by the busmen is the removal of some bus stops on the Grand Anse route, such as along the Maurice Bishop Highway opposite the entrance to Frequente. It was said at the meeting that charges are being issued by the Police when buses pick up or drop off passengers at those locations, even though no public notice was issued by the Traffic Department.
The drivers report that they are issued warrants and given court dates, rather than being given the option to pay tickets issued by the Police. This, some of the drivers expressed is ridiculous and uncalled for.
The bus operators have indicated that they will do what needs to be done, in order to get better treatment.
Attorney–at–Law Ruggles Ferguson, who expressed his dismay at judgements handed down to the bus operators by Magistrate Seales, said he was unaware of the revoking of licences situation now being faced. Just about two years ago, Ferguson called for Magistrate Seales’ resignation, citing arbitrary judgments on bus operators, and other instances of not fully complying with the Law.
The Community Relations Department (CRD) of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has indicated they are not aware of the situation, and therefore they cannot comment.