Within the last two weeks, the Traffic Department of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) has suspended the licenses of five minibus operators, as they mount an increased effort to rein in the chaos in the sector.
Sergeant Wendell Corridon said the license suspensions were handed down for speeding recklessly and endangering people on our roads. He also said efforts by police to find alternate ways to improve the behaviour of minibus operators have proven futile, so more serious action had to be taken.
“We have realized that bringing these drivers to the station, speaking to them, trying to educate them is not working, so we have to take another road where we suspend the licence – let you feel the pain of not driving these vans. You must sit on the roadside and watch them pass you,” the officer said during the October 8 Viewpoint programme on SVGTV.
In addition to the speeding violations which have led to the suspensions, the Sergeant also spoke about the abundance of noise complaints coming from schools and medical institutions about loud and lewd music being played by minibuses.
He identified the Edinboro, Campden Park and Villa routes as the ones where the frequency of complaints originate.
“Persons that are driving these omnibuses are young persons and we would have telephone calls from the schools especially, the hospital about the musical instruments that are being played in these omnibuses. They would have that music to the top volume disturbing the hospital.
“For the GHS bus stop area – the music is so loud that the schools in that area complain daily … In the college area – we have complaints from the College where vans that would turn around and they would disturb the College.”
He said the extent of the issues affecting the sector does “drain the manpower at the office” of the Division and they are calling on the public to assist them in identifying the trouble-makers.
“What we are appealing is to the public to assist us. If you are in a van and the music is high and you know you are not comfortable come into the Traffic Department.”
He revealed that officers are moving to take action on the complaints as soon as they are received, sharing that a complaint made by a member of the public, with video evidence to back it up, resulted in the removal of one minibus from operation within an hour of the complaint being made.
He added that the licence suspension will be maintained pending the outcome of court proceedings brought against the alleged traffic offender.
Sergeant Corridon also said that while the police are working to improve the sector, enacting legislation such as the routing of vans can lessen the competition and the resulting chaos on some routes.