Bus preachers persist
Lay preachers are continuing to deliver their sermons on Jamaica Urban Transport Corporation (JUTC) buses despite a more than two-year ban on the practice, but the state agency is rejecting claims that it is unable to enforce its own regulations.
In November 2012, the JUTC announced that it was banning preaching, eating and vending on its buses. With that ban widely ignored, the bus company announced that it would be stepping up the enforcement measures at the start of this year.
But last week, our news team saw several cases of persons breaking the rules, with JUTC drivers claiming that they were reluctant to stop persons from carrying out these practices, as they are concerned about their safety.
"Well, I just focus my attention on driving, you know. I am not telling anyone say them can't do this or they can't do that and be in any argument with anybody, because everybody is a hothead these days," said one driver.
"Me personally not going to stop anyone from preaching; who want listen or give them money is up to them but I can't see myself a tell a man to stop talk bout God," added the driver.
Head of the JUTC Franchise Protection and Management Unit, Radcliffe Lewis, told The Sunday Gleaner that while the company is adamant about keeping certain practices off its buses, he understands the fear expressed by some drivers.
"Yes, some drivers are afraid because unscrupulous persons will attack them. That is why our department works in tandem with the police, and we are on the road conducting operations every day to stop these practices, so we will deal with those who breach the regulations," said Lewis.
"I'm not going to say the practice has been wiped out because it is my understanding that people are still preaching on the buses, but I believe it has been cut down tremendously because once we find them they are dealt with," added Lewis.
He said so far two persons have been sanctioned and served summons for preaching on buses.
"A couple of months ago every bus you see you would find people preaching on it or selling on it, and it's not so now, I believe it's just a matter of time before we wipe it out entirely time is the master," added Lewis.