The People’s National Congress Reform joins the nation in condemning the daily manifestation of the reckless use of our roads and the evident disregard and disrespect for the Highway Code and the Traffic Laws of Guyana.

The latest large scale loss of life from this unacceptable behaviour was the tragic accident which occurred, on Friday 29th October 2010, in Corentyne, Berbice.

The PNCR extends:
• Our condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the twelve persons who perished;
• Our wishes for a speedy recovery of the five survivors.

It should, by now be evident, even to the Minister of Home Affairs, that there is urgent need to strengthen the Traffic Department of the Guyana Police Force and to institute a compulsory on-going programme of Traffic Education for all Guyanese, particularly the drivers of mini-buses, hire cars, trucks and other commercial vehicles, motorbikes and pedestrians. Even members of the Guyana Police Force can be seen violating the traffic laws with reckless abandon.

The requirements for the issuing of Drivers’ licences need to be tightened with compulsory retesting for licence renewals, at, say, intervals of five (5) years, for drivers of mini-buses, hire cars, trucks and other commercial vehicles.

When are the long malfunctioning traffic lights in Georgetown going to be fixed?

Apart from the mass fatalities from the accident in Corentyne, Berbice, two other persons died from road accidents last weekend: one male in a speeding vehicle that slammed into a utility pole on the East Bank of Demerara and another who lost control of his CBR.

The PNCR is alarmed at the unacceptable picture discernable from the Traffic statistics. In the period, up to 23rd September 2010, there were 77 accidents with 80 deaths; five were children. During the same period last year 71 accidents were recorded resulting in 82 deaths; 12 were children.

The PNCR has noted the Kaieteur News article, dated Monday 15th March 2010, under the caption: “Road accidents cause most disabilities in Guyana”. According to that article, “Road accidents feature among the top 10 leading causes of death and account for the most disabilities in Guyana. This was revealed in the recently unveiled Ministry of Health National Rehabilitation Services Strategy 2009 – 2013.” That article revealed that more than 600 people died as a result of accidents, during the period 2006 to September 2009, with about 300 persons, injured in such accidents, who are now disabled.

There has been a continuing number of letters to the Editors of the national news papers, including the Sunday 3rd October 2010 letter from the Guyana Road Safety Council appealing to road users to exercise care and caution on the roads and to adhere to the traffic laws. The Guyana Road Safety Council called on drivers to stop disregarding the law, and to cease driving under the influence of alcohol. The PNCR is fully supportive of the appeal by the Road Safety Council.

The Tuesday 2nd November 2010 Kaieteur Editorial titled “Are we really serious about curbing reckless road usage?” highlights the fact that, as usual in Guyana after any tragedy, Government hustles to fix the unfixable. “Last Friday’s horrific smash-up in Berbice, which claimed 12 lives, including a two-month-old, was another tragedy which our tiny country (population-wise) could have done without. The subsequent reaction by the authorities – detaining a number of minibuses along the various corridors for several hours in the days following such carnage – is essentially a routine without sound reason in the scheme of things.”The Editorial reminds the authorities of the proposals, in their Editorial of 2 November 2005, under the caption: “National Task Force for Traffic Needed”.

When will the Administration stop engaging in useless diversionary antics and demonstrate to the citizens of Guyana that they accept their responsibility to ensure that our roads are made safe once more?

Effective programmes must be implemented immediately to save Guyanese lives!

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Thursday 4 November 2010

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