Sat | Dec 15, 2018

New Road Traffic Act will give TA fresh outlook, says Shoucair

Published:Friday | August 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
The Southern Regional Office celebrates after being crowned the best office at the Transport Authority's anniversary and awards luncheon held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston yesterday.

With the new Road Traffic Act a matter of weeks away from being passed into law, the Transport Authority (TA) has a unique role to play. That includes enforcement of the regulations, something the Authority's Chairman, Joseph Shoucair, seems to be anticipating with relish.

"Government has put on the table a radical reform of the sector, [and] we are leading a public discussion on the proposals. We know that out of these discussions will come a dramatic reform of the sector, and we are looking forward to playing our role in that process," he told The Gleaner at yesterday's anniversary reception and awards luncheon, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

He said that the authority had had a very good year and thought it was important to show staff a degree of gratitude by hosting them at the luncheon, where more than 30 individual and regional office awards were handed out.

The top individual award went to Herma Brown for her 31 years of service to the Transport Authority. She received the Diamond Award, having started her journey with the authority in 1987 as a young clerk.

Among those also honoured for dedicated service to the agency were Derrick Atkinson, Joan Barnaby, Lloyd Bowen, Hugh Grant, Alicia Maxwell, Carol Sutherland, Tetlorene Loney, Nadine Edwards, Hyacinth Grey, and Oral Jackson, for 25 years with the authority.

The Southern Regional Office, which covers the parishes of Clarendon, Manchester, and St Elizabeth, received the most awards - five - including the top regional award.

Shoucair said that having had a stand-out year, he was anticipating an even greater outcome next year, but noted that his greatest wish was for safety and discipline to be adopted by road users, primarily those who are connected to the public transportation system.

"I wish the public to understand that the Transport Authority has limited operational responsibility under the law. It can only deal with breaches of the Transport Authority Act. It cannot deal with speeding, it cannot deal with dangerous overtaking, and it cannot deal with bad driving," Shoucair said.

"The broader function belongs with the police, but we have to work together to curb the level of indiscipline in the public transportation sector and the undisciplined driving that is leading to the loss of lives," he said.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com