Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter
Chairman of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), Dr Garnett Roper, is calling for members of the clergy to present a formal proposal to the entity on the issue of bus preaching.
"The JUTC is a company, we have liability," Roper said. "So if a church wants to preach, they have to come to the JUTC; we have to know what they're doing."
Roper, who was speaking with The Gleaner after yesterday's Rotary Club of Kingston luncheon, cautioned that he was not guaranteeing the application would be successful but said such consultation was the only way forward.
"We are trying to make the thing First World, so if you have something it must be controlled," he said.
Roper noted the issue was not that some bus preachers were asking for money.
"We stopped it because a driver was preaching and driving the bus," he said. "And the concern was that he was about to crash."
Roper said they stopped it "by policy" because the driver was claiming his rights.
"But he was scaring the hell out of the passengers," he said while noting that, as a pastor, he supported the creation of public chaplaincies.
"So if you see somebody in the bus struggling, like they just got a report from the doctor, are you going to shout at them some sermon?" he asked. "Sit down and talk with them."
He noted this way may seem less spectacular but was still effective.
"I don't want anybody to take the easy way out. What is easy to do is just to stand up and talk," he said.
Roper said there was a support the gospel required pastors to give, hence the need for public chaplaincies, including one on public transportation.
"But it has to be structured, people have rights," he said. "This is a secular society and you have to do so in a context in which their rights are respected."
Regarding the impending new cashless system, Roper mentioned the JUTC was close to signing the joint venture agreement and would announce the name of the company at that time. He would only confirm it was a local company.