Wed | Feb 26, 2020

Jaristotle's Jottings | A call for more common sense

Published:Thursday | February 13, 2020 | 12:12 AM

Last week, while enjoying a cup of coffee and listening to the morning news, I was bemused by a sound bite of Transport Minister, Robert Montague, citing the police for being unnecessarily punitive in seizing taxis being operated in a reckless manner by their drivers.

Taxi-dermic outlook

Describing taxis as the tools of the trade for taxi drivers, Montague posited that the seizure of the tools of one’s trade deprives individuals of the means of making an honest living. He queried whether the police would seize a doctor’s medical bag, tools of the medical profession, in cases where the doctor was driving recklessly. The minister lost me there with his poppycock, comparing apples with oranges, so to speak.

If a taxi driver uses his vehicle, the tool of his trade, in such a manner as to endanger other road users, then he deserves to have his vehicle seized. So, too, should we seize the doctor’s vehicle if he is driving recklessly.

However, let us examine Montague’s argument about tools of the trade. If a doctor uses his scalpel recklessly and endangers others, would we hesitate to take it away from him? Of course not! There then is the folly in Montague’s argument. Use your tools wisely.

Why would Montague attempt to baffle us with such bull****? What is his agenda? Most likely, he is seeking to woo the taxi drivers, the reckless and the ‘wreck-less’ alike. After all, he who fails to ‘campaign’ joins the losing camp, and prudent campaigning oft requires displacing common sense in the quest for power.

So, there we have it, folks. In the absence of rational regulation, prepare yourselves to contend with an emboldened set of kamikazes who are already flouting every imaginable rule under the Road Traffic Act.

Out of the wild

The 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) threat, having gained worldwide attention and reportedly responsible for over 1,000 deaths, is of serious concern to us here in Jamaica. While I am not being critical of the measures being implemented locally, I am, however, inclined to examine a related issue, that of the international trade in exotic animals.

Why so, you may ask. Well, the current theories as to the origin of this nCoV surrounds an animal market in Wuhan, China and the likely transmission of the virus from bats to humans.

Are you aware that there are numerous pet shops throughout the Corporate Area where birds, snakes, iguanas and other ‘adorable’ creatures that are not native to Jamaica are being sold? That said, are such animals imported under permit from the relevant government agencies or are they part of an unregulated international trade in exotic species?

Whether regulated or not, what risks do these exotic animals pose to the local population? I can understand if they were in a zoo, but pet shops? Who pays attention here? I mean, if we can’t adequately regulate our local funeral home industry how am I to be convinced that our government agencies are not petting these pet shops, so to speak?

There is a widely held view that all it takes is one adverse interaction with these imported animals, whether specie-to-specie or with humans, to initiate a crisis. It would help, therefore, if the relevant arm of Government would enlighten the citizenry on such matters as a means to prevent public unease. Such apprehension fuels reactions like that of the residents bordering the St Joseph’s Hospital, after learning that it is to be used as an nCoV quarantine facility.

We have every right to be concerned in situations where our safety and security may be undermined because rational regulation has absconded, owing to the displacement of common sense. Let’s all take stock.

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