Businessman moves to court to challenge GPF over minibus “wrapping”
A West Coast Demerara businessman is ready to move to the courts since he believes that Police, without authority, are unlawfully forcing minibus operators to remove their ‘wrap designs’.The proprietor of Unstoppable Auto Sales, whose only name was given as Danny, explained his misery and noted that the minibuses are only designed to “catch the passengers’ eyes”.A few of the wrapped minibuses at the Square of the RevolutionHe explained that he has several buses that work on the West Bank and West Coast of Demerara; and in one instance, when a Police Officer stopped his driver, he said he did not care whether the colours of the wrap design were on the registration or not, he wanted to see a “plain bus”.On Friday, Danny posted that one of his minibuses was detained at the Vreed-en-Hoop Police Station simply because of an ‘XO’ design was at the front of the bus. He noted that his ‘fitness’ was even revoked for the modest design.The businessman claims this type of Police behaviour is unlawful, and he even had one of his colleagues consult a lawyer on the issue.When Guyana Times contacted that colleague, who gave his name as Justus, he related, “We have a couple of buses working on the road because of course that’s a source of income for us, and we are getting some issues with the Police because they are telling us that they don’t want this stripe and that stripe, and all the colours on the bus are on the registration and I don’t know why they are locking up these buses, and we are losing a lot of days’ work. “I made contact with my lawyer, and we were seeking to get some advice as to why (this is so), and he was saying that as far as he knows, there is no law which says that you cannot have more than one colour on your vehicle or so”.Justus further stated that hundreds of thousands of dollars were invested to make the buses attractive to passengers. He argued that now more money will be spent to remove those designs and respray the buses.Contacted, Police Public Relations Officer Jairam Ramlakhan said he was unable to say specifically which section of the law dictates that minibuses should be plain-coloured.He therefore referred this publication to Traffic Chief Ramesh Ashram, who also failed to say specifically which section of law provides for buses to be plain-coloured. Ashram would say only that the provisions for this initiative are in the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act 51:02.As such, the businessman is gearing to file his lawsuit against the Guyana Police Force via his attorney. He is likely to secure the support of the scores of drivers whose minibuses have been seized over the past few weeks. Back in March, a campaign was implemented to strip all minibuses that had wrap designs. The defaulting vehicles were taken to the Brickdam Police Station.The acting Traffic Chief had estimated that over 30 minibuses had breached the traffic regulations by possessing these ‘wraps’.Meanwhile, the affected drivers have related that the initiative has affected their livelihood, as they continue to lose money while their minibuses are parked.Citizens who use the buses as sole source of transportation also expressed their concern, noting that when the minibuses were not functioning, it was difficult to get to their destinations. However, the acting Traffic Chief noted that this could be avoided if the traffic rules and regulations are followed.Following this episode, minibus operators had staged a protest calling for the Police to put an end to the campaign. They said they feel they are being harassed. The vibrantly coloured buses were registered to the following routes: Kitty-Campbellville (40), Stabroek-South (41), Georgetown-Timehri (42), Georgetown-Mahaica (44), Stabroek-Albert (45) and Stabroek-Sophia (48).