Wednesday 18 September, 2019

PSV Associations welcome metal detectors in terminals and schools

(File photo)

(File photo)

The suggestion to place metal detectors in the River Van Terminal which is under construction is being welcomed by members the Public Service Vehicle (PSV) associations.

However, one president went further and called for their placement at the island’s schools as well.

Morris Lee, President of the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO) told Loop News:

“It has my full support. You’ve been hearing of stories up to two days ago, where some school children attacked a conductor just for asking for the bus fare. They drew out machetes and chopped up the fella. So what I’m saying to you, I don’t only support metal detectors in the bus stand, I believe they should have them in schools too…

“Metal detectors are something that I or the Association would encourage in the new River Bus Terminal, the new rollout, whenever that happens, but at the same time, I believe that they should also have metal detectors at school as well.”

Lee does not expect the metal detectors in the stands to be a magic wand removing danger and violence, but he said if strategically placed they can bring an added level of safety.

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He was speaking to incorporating them at the gates before persons exit the terminal to board the PSV.

He explained, “I have absolutely no difficulty with that. That is something I would support, but logistically, the River Terminal is in such a state that that kind of concept would be difficult to put in place with such an open area with several thousand people passing in and out on a daily basis, every hour. So when the new terminal is completed, it is supposed to have a concourse where it marginalizes the entry point for commuters, unlike what exists now, and there is a possibility that that metal detector concept is something that could probably work in that environment, once things are completed, and it has my full support.”

Lee said that we cannot bury our heads in the sand and act as if violence amongst the school children is not a real issue, instead, we must look at addressing the problem from more than one point. He used the Supreme Court as an example, with its metal detectors and scanner at the door.

He added, “Regrettably,  the carrying of weapons and so on is not something that is just restricted to adults anymore. Children out of fear of bullying, sometimes they conceal objects, and when you ask them why they would be carrying this object, they say, in case I get bullied either by schoolmates, or children from another school or fellas that finish school that liming the road.”

Unlike some persons, he asserted that he does not believe that children set out from home with malicious intentions “to chop anybody”, with that incident on the van recently, he said he does not see that “as the norm”. But he called on government to invest in these metal detectors.

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Further making his point, he said that the students are not only being disorderly at times on the PSVs, he said that people have provided him with photographic evidence of the high level of vandalism that exists in the seats of those Transport Board buses as well.

“So, I am saying that all and sundry should easily support the idea of metal detectors, it would probably help get some of the guns off the streets too.”

Roy Raphael, the Head of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT), also agreed with the inclusion of metal detectors in the new terminal saying that it would bring some measure of safety to the PSV industry. He said that he and his Association would support anything that brings increased security.

Their remarks come after an incident between two students on a school yesterday, November 7, 2017, which left one student nursing stab wounds in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). The other student fled the scene. Police investigations continue.

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