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Mayor of Morant Bay, Joan Spencer, is seeking a meeting with taxi drivers and executive members of the National Association of Taxi Operators (NATO), to iron out the differences that exist between the Council and taxi operators in the parish.
She made the request at a church service held for the drivers yesterday (Sunday, August 31) at the Faith Baptist Church in Seaforth under the theme, “Service with Integrity.”
Among the issues to be worked out, the Mayor said, was the limited use of the transportation centre the Council had built for the loading and unloading of passengers. “We need to resolve the situation which is causing you not to use this facility,” she pointed out, noting that the Council was committed to developing a safe and orderly transportation service in the parish and a secure area where taxi operators could terminate their trips and load their passengers.
Mayor Spencer also pointed to the need for the parties to work together to improve the image of the industry. “You must ensure that the travelling public have full faith and trust in you and the services you provide, which also means that those of you who drive very fast on the Seaforth to Morant Bay road need to slow down,” she told the drivers.
In bringing greetings, Managing Director of the Transport Licensing Authority, Joan Fletcher, said the Authority would soon be implementing new rules for drivers and conductors in an effort “to protect the travelling public and to create a safer environment for passengers and workers.”
“The best protection for our people will not be the number of police officers or transport inspectors who are dedicated to the transport system, but rather a system which ensures that only the best quality of people operate the service,” she said.
She noted that the new rules were also intended to protect taxi operators. “We do have some fine Jamaican workers in the transport system,” she pointed out.
After the service, a motivational session with the taxi drivers and interest groups was held.
Also bringing greetings at the service were General Secretary of NATO Egerton Newman; Secretary/Manager of the St. Thomas Parish Council, Clinton Gordon; President of the Jamaica Baptist Union Brotherhood, Lorenzo Bogle; President of the Seaforth Community Development Association, Emerson James and Superintendent of the St. Thomas Police Division, Malcolm Bogle.
The service was organised by the Seaforth Circuit of Baptist Brotherhood and was held mainly to recognise the drivers’ valuable contribution to the community and further challenge them on spiritual, moral and road safety issues.
It was attended by scores of taxi operators and their families from the Seaforth area. Rev. Dr. Vivian Panton, Chaplain of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, delivered the sermon.