THE EDITOR, Sir:
OVER THE last week, Jamaicans, especially those in Manchester, have been mourning the loss of the lives of our country's children. On September 25, four students from Holmwood Technical High School lost their lives because of the careless actions of a bus driver. This vicious attack on our children should not be taken lightly.
Every day, these people drive in a manner that not only endangers their lives, but also the lives of their passengers. Do they really care? If the driver had woken up that day knowing that he would destroy the future of four young children, would he have felt the need to re-evaluate his driving habits? I pray that the others on the road see this as a wake-up call and make a change for the better.
ALL ABOUT HYPE
I cannot fathom the need to have an accelerated engine in a vehicle that is being used as a public-passenger vehicle! These drivers do all they can to ensure they make the maximum number of trips each morning. Also, they play loud music to entertain their passengers and make their vehicles 'hype'. On several occasions, I've been ridiculed by my peers because I refuse to take a taxi that will endanger my life; I travel on the school's bus. Their ridicule does not deter my resolute stance in driving on the school's bus, as the drivers promote careful road ethics, as in their driving they echo my aunts sentiments, 'life is precious Renarrdo, value it'.
Despite this, however, I do not think the drivers deserve all the blame. Students have a part to play in this as well. After all, it is their lives. They only drive in the "grung jets", which boast the loudest music. This is not unique to Manchester because all over Jamaica, students make the same bad choices.
THINK, DECIDE, THEN ACT
I urge parents, students, drivers, teachers, and even persons on the street who see this happening to take a minute to think. To drivers, think about what may happen as a result of your actions. To teachers, let your students know what is in store for them if they drive in these buses, and try to show them that bad choices will bring forth bad results. To parents, monitor the types of transportation in which your child travels, try to find the best driver, the safest driver, and instruct them to go with that driver.
If you can find an alternative to these minibuses, such as paying for private transport, do so, because you cannot put your trust in these drivers whose only concern is how much they can take home at the end of the day. To students, take responsibility for your life. To persons on the streets, if you see a child about to put their life in jeopardy, stop them, talk to them, and picture them as your own. We need to go back to the days when a village raised a child.
Jamaica, we need to wake up and smell the roses. This is not a time for loss but a time for growth. If we intend to grow as a country, we need to secure our future. The children are our future.
Let us all work hard to make Jamaica the place to live, raise families, do business and work.