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Mark Haynes, Communications and Marketing Officer of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT).

AOPT: Action against PSVs ‘high handed’

Reports are that 18 public service vehicles (PSVs) were pulled off the road this week, as operators of these PSVs were found to be in breach of the recommended COVID-19 protocols, related to public transport. However, the AOPT has described any action against first time offenders in the sector, as too draconian and “high handed”.

Mark Haynes, Communications and Marketing Officer of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT) recently stated the Alliance’s position on the matter, suggesting that temporary action should be taken against all first time offenders, found to be in breach of the protocols.

“It is with deep regret that I learnt that some 18 PSVs were pulled off the road on Wednesday the 29th of July by officers of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, as a consequence of COVID-19 protocols that were breached. Once again, I implore all drivers, conductors and commuters, to please adhere to the wearing of masks. We are in a new norm, because this disease is highly contagious and the wearing of masks is to help mitigate against its spread. This is primarily for everyone’s safety. It is imperative that everyone be in conformity with all of governments COVID-19 protocols” Haynes said in a statement issued to the Barbados Advocate.

“However, I think that it is only fair and reasonable that the driver and conductor, once found to be in breach for at least the first time, that they should be given a warning of the infraction and simultaneously, the owner should be informed. If subsequent to this they repeat the offence, then only temporary action should be taken. Ordering the PSV off the road for a first offence appears to be too draconian or very high handed by the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit. This is punitive and I therefore call on the management of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, to please consider my recommendation” he added.

The AOPT’s Communications and Marketing Officer meanwhile made an appeal to workers in the PSV sector to be more disciplined on the road and for commuters also, to pay attention to the recommended COVID-19 protocols.

“The workers in this sector must be disciplined and be of good behaviour and conduct themselves with the highest level of decorum. It is imperative that there must be order and discipline on the roads of Barbados. I make another impassioned plea of the workers, not to bring the sector into public disrepute. Commuters who bluntly refuse to wear their masks, as they are about to board all PSVs, should be refused entry to the vehicles. Additionally, upon entering the vehicles, they should be required just to remove their mask for adequate identification,” Haynes said. (RSM)

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