REPORT #145 Nov 1999

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Meb Cutlack in an article of Oct. 31, 1999 in the REPORTER, attacks the idea of a system of bus transport regulations, hopefully designed to stop accidents by allocating times and routes to different bus companies.

The system of such regulations has been a massive failure. Indeed, it has also been used as corruption by political parties in the dictatorial winning party system we are governed by.

Meb Cutlack puts forth the idea for debate, that designated bus stops be appointed. But his main bone of contention, is that the government is not funding the proper method of controlling bus competition and speeding which is the root of the problem, because of the accidents and injuries involved.

Indeed, Meb has my wholehearted endorsement for his views here. I have thought the same thing for 25 years. There were advantages to the National Transportation Board situation. These were the necessary political party "donations" at election time, to keep your route and timing, or to get a monopoly of a bus route. But the advantages were never in the public interest, but always in the interest of lining the political party campaign coffers.

Meb points out, that you need a couple of speed control policemen on motorcycles with portable radios and even a small hand held radar speed set. Some ticket pads, the legal means to remove speeding drivers and arrest them, at inconvenience to a busload of passengers and the bus company too of course. And a local magistrate in the district to hear the arguments the same day for traffic fines. Or removal of the drivers license. If the bus companies have their drivers removed and arrested for speeding and have to go to the trouble of sending out replacement drivers, things will change quick. Even fine the bus companies for speeding.

In a country were money is scarce in government, such a patrol team should and could be self financing, once the initial system is set up. Lord knows, in Canada, such teams ticket fines, support whole town councils and village councils officials with the income. Paying all the salaries for a year.

Sad to say, but hitting the pocket book is the fastest way of teaching people a lesson. And teaching speeders and drunk drivers a lesson is sorely needed in Belize. The government is definitely not doing right by the public and it is all because of the revenue collecting campaign contributions aspect of the present policy methodology, at the expense of public safety.

As Meb says, "the SYSTEM IS GUILTY"! Meaning the politicians of political parties of course. Neither the UDP or the PUP have ever wanted to lose their contributions from bus companies. Public safety can go hang! Bring out the excuses and the platitudes.

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