A large percentage of Jamaica’s children must commute via public transportation. At these times they are often exposed to music the driver chooses. Too often this music is lewd and inappropriate for children.
Ramona Samuels, organiser of the Excuse Me Driver initiative and mother of a teenage daughter said: “It’s just too much. When it comes on to public service which is customer service, I just have a strong belief that it’s time now, high time now, a stop be put to it and citizens need to realise the power is in the money they are paying, and I don’t really believe we should accept a service like this.”
She expressed that adult content has its time and place and should be kept out of public transportation.
Samuels added: “There are other lovely music that are done by Jamaicans that can be played on our public service and is inspiring, it’s uplifting, it’s reggae music, even some very dancehall beats with some nice lyrics can be played. Or how about no music at all as some other parents and adults mentioned?”
She conveyed disappointment at a first-hand experience where she was cursed off and humiliated by a taxi driver in front of her then nine-year-old daughter and other passengers when she spoke up about the inappropriate music that he began playing during their journey. Her experience compelled her to form the Excuse Me Driver initiative. She is now seeking sponsorship and cooperation from influential parties, including schools, who she says also need to be held accountable, as lewd music is sometimes played at school events.
“Something needs to be done about the whole decorum of public passenger operators and how they qualify to be there on the road in the first place,” Samuels said.
— Written by Nichola Beckford