Smith urges operators not to yield to students' request to play lewd music
NEWMAN…we are training our persons to become firstresponders (Photo: Horace Hines)

FALMOUTH, Trelawny - Regional manager at the Transport Authority Ralston Smith is making an impassioned plea to drivers and conductors of public transportation not to yield to their student passengers' demand to play loud and lewd music while transporting them to and from school.

Speaking at the Trelawny launch of the Transport Operators Blue Ribbon First Responder Training and Certification Programme at the Falmouth New Testament Church of God last Thursday, Smith blasted transport operators who play vulgar music at the behest of their student passengers.

"The students provide the material. They come equipped with the thumb drives, and they have the phones and those kinds of gadgets that they give to the drivers and conductors to play. We want to urge drivers and conductors to resist that temptation and be the adult in all of this. And we have to ask ourselves the question, 'if it was my child would, I want him or her to be exposed to this type of music?'" he charged.

"We hope Mr [Egeton] Newman that your training will capture some elements of that in asking the drivers and conductors in and around Trelawny and elsewhere to take charge. Cede not the power that you have to the student passengers because what we find many times is that the operators believe that they are under pressure from the students to play loud and lewd music."

He implored public transportation stakeholders to refrain from engaging in the playing of distasteful music on their vehicles altogether.

"What we see is a sign of moral decadence that is taking place where drivers and conductors, and the society as a whole, are slowly heading down that slippery slope. We find that there are a lot of public passenger operators that are entertaining loud and lewd music on public passenger vehicles. And in that construct, what we find is that the children get to school highly intoxicated and ill-prepared to absorb the education material they are supposed to," Smith reasoned.

"We have to take back the space, but [it] is only through training and development...expanding the minds."

The Transport Operators Blue Ribbon First Responder Training and Certification Programme is a collaborative effort by Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS) and British Caribbean Insurance Company (BCIC).

The programme, which provides first-responder training for individuals within the transport industry, equips them with the skills necessary to render assistance at a traffic crash site.

President of TODSS Egeton Newman noted that the training in Trelawny will be undertaken over the next four Thursdays at the Falmouth New Testament Church of God.

He expressed hope that following completion of the training some 25 participants from across the transport sector will be certified.

"We are training our persons to become first responders; to be very quick and precise in what they do to move the injured to a more secure place on their journey to the health provider. We found out it is working. It works in St Thomas, it works in Portland, it is working in Kingston and St Andrew. And even the accident in Braco, I see people lifting in a very strange way and other accidents where they lift them up and throw them in a car. That takes their lives much faster," he cautioned.

"This is about training our operators to become first responders because we found out during our survey that anywhere there is an accident in this country one of the first on the scene is a taxi man."

BY HORACE HINES Observer West reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

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