Amid a police campaign to get rid of all touts from bus parks, these individuals are begging the authorities not to take bread out of their mouths while promising to act in a more professional manner.
According to the touts, it is unfair for Guyanese who are attempting to make an honest living, in a country with a high percentage of unemployment to be prosecuted for doing so.
However, the touts did admit that some of them can get too aggressive with passengers, and vowed to adjust their behaviour.
“We know that the pulling and tugging of people must stop and we are willing to comply with that but this is honest work man,” some touts stated.
One tout who refers to himself as the “King Tout”, having been in the touting profession for some 20 years, said that he continues to be a target of traffic officers for doing the job which puts food on his table.
The man said that he was arrested three times recently and made to pay hefty bail sums, which he stated is unfair since he is no criminal.
“Touting does give me my daily bread…three times them lock me up in one week you know and its real heart rending right now, when you go to Court, the fine you does gotta pay is $15,000 to $20,000,” the tout revealed.
A female tout of the Sophia bus park and the breadwinner of three grandchildren said that touting is her livelihood since she is aged and is unable to find unemployment.
“For me, no matter what they do they can’t stop tout…to full the buses and get your lil change, I ain’t see that as nothing because this is how I does feed my grandchildren,” the woman explained.
Another tout of the Georgetown-Mahaica bus park noted that many times touts scare off bandits who may be lurking around to snatch valuables and at times even rescue people being robbed.
The tout recalled that just recently, a thief snatched a woman’s phone through the window of a bus where she was sitting. The thief was allegedly caught by a tout who gave chase as no police officer was present at the time.
Just recently, 17 touts were arrested and charged as the clampdown exercise was initiated by the traffic department.
Traffic Chief Linden Isles said that the exercise is aimed to rid the parks of all touts and as such the public cooperation is critical. He also noted that the campaign will be ongoing until the desired results are achieved. So far, over 100 touts have been arrested and charged.