Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
While lamenting the challenges faced by a number of physically disabled persons in rural Jamaica, especially as it relates to accessing public transport, Government Senator Floyd Morris believes that putting in place specially modified vehicles in rural communities might be the way to go.
"There is not a public transportation system in rural Jamaica, so that's a very expensive venture," Morris said. "There are no modified vehicles to transport these individuals and that is probably where we need to see some initiative put in place where we could probably provide an incentive to taxi drivers who modify their vehicles to accommodate children with physical disabilities."
In the meantime, Morris said while instituting a public-transport system would benefit the disabled community significantly, he did not see where such a move was feasible for the Government at this time.
"A publicly funded rural transportation system, we have never had it and I don't think we are going to have it now because the more the State becomes indebted and the more we are scampering for resources, the more you are going to see Government trying to move away from some of those things," he acknowledged.
"It would be ideal to have a publicly funded rural transportation system, that would be the ideal, but I am telling you that in the context of scarce resources, in the context of us having to forge an IMF (International Monetary Fund) agreement, you can understand the challenges that the State would have to establish a publicly funded rural transportation system."
Former Transport and Works Minister Mike Henry had proposed a rural bus system, but the proposal has since been rejected by the current portfolio minister Dr Omar Davies, who said the country cannot afford it.