Transport Chaos Dominates
Tuesday, September 24, was dominated by a chaotic breakdown of the public transport system, with the withdrawal of public transport in most of the Corporate Area and parts of St Catherine.
The withdrawal of buses by the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) came after two deaths including that of a JUTC driver-mechanic Monday night. He was shot and killed hours after a JUTC driver reportedly stabbed a taxi operator to death on Washington Boulevard in St Andrew, following a row. Bus drivers refused to operate buses and some taxi operators also stayed off the roads.
Planned Return Fails
Jamaica Urban Transit Company buses did not return their services, which have resulted in several developments up to late Tuesday afternoon. The management team of the state-owned bus company in a release issued earlier today stated that services would have been restored in phases, with the hope of full resumption by 5 p.m.
Social Media Madness
The Police appealed to members of the public to be more responsible in their use of the various social media platforms.
The appeal was made after various threats, rumours and false reports were transmitted via various social media platforms Tuesday about the state of public transport. The Transport Minister Robert Montague made a similar appeal and called for calm, saying people had even issued dangerous voice notes, with fake news.
Early School Closure
Thousands of students were allowed to go home early Tuesday as uncertainty hung over the transport sector where the Government bus service had been withdrawn by drivers. Acting Minister of Education Karl Samuda took responsibility for the advisory for early closure of some schools, saying children faced uncertainty and threats and he would not have it. He said he would do it again. Former Education Minister Ronnie Thwaites had expressed views that schools should not have ended early.
Heavy security was being maintained into Tuesday evening around the Transport Centre in Half Way Tree St Andrew, from which dozens of JUTC buses are usually dispatched daily. Police and the JDF deployed several of their vehicles and dozens of security officers to the facility following reports on social media and rumours of threats. Meantime, senior police officers gave interviews on the radio that police would maintain a heavy presence on routes and JUTC depots to provide security for drivers and other staff as well as commuters
JUTC Driver Identified
And the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) driver-mechanic killed on Monday night, September 23 has been identified as 34-year-old Mikkel Donaldson, otherwise called ‘Biggs’, of Bull Bay, St. Andrew. According to a police statement issued Tuesday morning, September 24, about 10:24 p.m. Monday, Donaldson was dispatched to Oxford Road, St. Andrew, where it was reported that a JUTC bus had developed mechanical problems. It is alleged that while he waited at the location, he was pounced upon and shot several times. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The National Works Agency (NWA), says that sections of the Bog Walk Gorge and the Natural Bridge to Troja roadway were affected by minor landslides, Tuesday, September 24. In a release early Tuesday, the NWA said several roadways were also blocked as a result of flooding caused by blocked critical drains. These include the Spanish Town to Bamboo roadway, in the vicinity of Johnson Pen and St. John’s Primary, the Naggo Head to Dawkins roadway, in the vicinity of Christian Pen, and Municipal Boulevard in the vicinity of Grange Lane which were inundated. Rains Tuesday afternoon and evening and forecasts of more rain between Tuesday night and Wednesday could make road conditions worse in some areas