The Vice-Chairperson of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Robert Sabbah, has disclosed that the Ghana Police Service is harassing them for no reason and that is having a negative impact on their business.
He made these comments on the Happy Morning Show on Happy98.9FM.
“We’ve not been given the chance to operate freely since the lockdown though we’re classified under essential services. There has been one police harassment after the other with their insistence that we are not regarding the social distancing directive which is false. Drivers are not allowed to cross one checkpoint to the other. The Police even go to the extreme of asking everyone to alight from the car regardless of whoever is in the car, even health workers”.
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According to him such behavior from the Police who claim to be the friend of citizens is in poor taste and if they simply do not want ‘trotro’ drivers to operate, they should be told. “If the Police has any hidden agenda against us, we should be made aware. If they don’t want us to work, we should be told. And stop harassing us all the time. What they’re doing is not right. That was not the directive of the President”.
He clarified that the association has regarded the President’s directive by ensuring social distancing in their vehicles and do not understand the root of all this harassment. “We are not insulated from the virus. We make sure passengers wash their hands and apply hand sanitizers before boarding our vehicles. We’ve reduced the number of passengers per row from 4 to 3 and in some instance from 3 to 2 passengers per row depending on the type of car, but we are being denied our daily bread which is unfortunate”, he noted.
On his authority, though reducing the number of passengers per vehicle has affected their sales, the union does not mind. “Irrespective of the reduction in our sales, we cannot quantify the death of one person to the money we will make and our lives as well. We’re not really worried about the money we’re losing. We can make do with the little we earn just to preserve lives,” he added.
Robert Sabbah was quick to add that the union is finding it difficult to meet and approach the Transport Ministry to resolve the matter because of the current lockdown situation in the country. But appealed to the Police to respect them as essential service providers and let them do their work in peace.
The President ordered a lockdown in parts of the country which took effect on Monday 30th March, 2020. This directive, however, gave room for the operations of some services regarded as essential in the country, which the public transport system is one.
By: Joel Sanco
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