Friday 21 February, 2020

Cabbies cry foul at ‘special treatment’ of Benz offender

A screen grab from a video of the stuntman in action.

A screen grab from a video of the stuntman in action.

Taxi operators who service sections of the Corporate Area and surrounding areas are up in arms over the move by the police not to charge the driver of a Mercedes Benz who was caught on video doing a number of dangerous stunts at a busy intersection over the weekend.

On Tuesday, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Bishop Dr Gary Welsh, who is the head of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, held a meeting with the reported offender at the same spot where the incident took place, and said he wanted to use the incident as a teaching moment - instead of penalising the driver.

The driver apologised for his actions during the exchange.

"I was wrong and I am really sorry. It won't happen again," said the driver who identified himself as Dennis Dietrih, the personal assistant to international cricketer, Andre Russell.

But several hours after the meeting, taxi operators took to social media to voice their disapproval of the handling of the matter, stating that the move was a biased one.

“We believe the move was biased and showed that there is really two Jamaica; one where the poor and less fortunate people are pressured by the system, and the other where the privileged get a different treatment,” said a driver who operates from Duhaney Park to Half-Way Tree.

Another taxi operator who works in Spanish Town raised similar concerns.

“Here is it we have a man who identifies from the upper parts of the country, a rich kid who has come out to admit that he committed several breaches while driving his fast toy (car), and instead of charging the driver to send a message, the head of the traffic department has released him with a slap on the hand,” said the driver.

“How often do we see these drivers of these fast cars getting caught by the police and getting away with what we deem as special treatment? We believe if that was a taxi operator or a Jamaican from a different section of the society, from below Cross Roads, the response would have been different,” said another taxi operator.

ACP Welsh has argued that he thought the incident presented the perfect opportunity to reach out to a wider cross-section of motorists, to inform and educate them about breaches on the roads.

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