Continued reports that members of JATOO the Jamaica Association of Transport Owners and Operators, (taxi operators to be precise), are refusing to transport nurses out of ignorant fear of the COVID-19 virus must be met with decisive governmental action.
The Government had issued a warning to taxi operators who were engaging in this practice, but warnings are not enforceable if there are no laws to hold people accountable.
In times of crisis, worthwhile governments leap into action and quickly draft legislation to deal with new eventualities.
It is out of crisis situations like the COVID-19 that loopholes in our criminal codes are exposed and also exploited.
This pandemic is a war, it is forcing people to change their ways of thinking and their ways of living.
As a consequence, the parliament must also spend extra time to come up with new legislation and get them to the Governor-General to be signed into law.
Warnings will not cut it, in the same ways that begging criminals not to commit crimes does nothing to stop violent crimes.
Some taxi operators are decent people trying to make a living.
But it is undeniable that among them, is a hardcore cadre of criminals who are extremely disruptive, and lawless.
They fight & injury police officers when they try to enforce the nation’s traffic laws, and what obtains as a parliament has done nothing to add teeth to the laws which would protect our police officers.
They kidnap rape and murder women and little girls and turn their passengers over to be robbed and killed.
They block streets and create pandemonium, resulting in major disruptions across the economic front of the country.
It is for those reasons that as this crisis intensifies, these criminals not be allowed to continue to have their way and be a law unto themselves by refusing to transport our health workers.
In order to bring this insanity to heel, the Parliament must go into an emergency session as if this is a shooting war, and enact legislation to ensure the smooth running of the country.
Leaders lead, not beg or threaten lawless people to obey laws that do not exist.
Draft new legislation now that makes it a crime to refuse to carry our nurses & other health workers, punishable by a stiff fine on the first offense.
Any other breach of the law should result in imprisonment and the total revocation of all privileges to ever operate a public passenger vehicle again.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, businessman, researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
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