In light of the horrific road accidents that left 24 persons dead in 12 days, the police have planned a meeting today for the Traffic Officer and Divisional Traffic Heads to discuss ways of intensifying the fight against traffic lawlessness.
According to a police press release after the meeting it is anticipated that a meeting will be held with the owners and drivers of public transportation and two special seminars will be held for minibus and hire car drivers. The police are expected to announce a number of additional methods to be implemented to curb fatalities and accidents on the roads.
Meanwhile, Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that he is concerned about the recent spate of road accidents saying that it was unfortunate that some drivers continue to drive above the speed limit. According to GINA Rohee said it must be understood that avoiding problems on the roadways is not only the responsibility of the police but of the community.
Rohee echoed the comments of acting Traffic Chief Neil Semple saying that the department is working hard to tackle the issue despite its limited resources. He said that the department is challenged by a shortage of vehicles and ranks and that it needs “the support of the community, road safety council, mini-bus association [and] hire car association” and all other stakeholders.
GINA said the new Traffic Offences and Use of Cellphones Whilst Driving bills are expected to be tabled shortly in the National Assembly though they cannot solve the issue of the road carnage unless they are enforced. However, Rohee said, “I think that there has to be a greater support on the part of the public in respect to this matter. When persons are travelling in a mini-bus and that bus is speeding persons must be brave enough to tell the driver and the conductor to reduce the speed.”
The police release said that “in most cases drivers tend to drive in a self-preserving manner, more often than not, results in other occupants being injured or killed.” It also pointed out that in three of the recent motor vehicle accidents there have been multiple deaths resulting in 18 persons being killed. The police said in all the accidents it was clear that drivers were exceeding the speed limits authorised by law.
Six persons lost their lives on Sunday when 26-year-old driver Anil Singh lost control of his car on the East Coast Demerara Highway, near the abandoned Texaco Gas Station, and slammed head-on into a concrete fence and guard hut. Singh along with his eight months pregnant reputed wife, Famheda Bacchus, 24, his sister, 25-year-old Renika Singh, 12-year-old Alasie Samaroo, 11-year-old Sheerza Pooran and the security guard who was sitting in the hut at the time, Nandram Ramgopaul, 57, lost their lives.
Later that same day two men, 27-year-old Jimmy Russell and 24-year-old Moses Christian, were both killed when Russell, an unlicensed driver of the minibus they were in attempted to dodge a police patrol and ended up slamming into a concrete culvert on the Brickery Public Road, East Bank Demerara. These accidents followed on the heels of an accident at Amelia’s Ward, Linden two weeks ago where ten persons lost their lives after a minibus slammed into a lorry.
The police said that as regard the accident at Liliendaal there were a number of traffic ranks on duty at Ogle where the deceased would have passed just prior to losing control of his car. It also said that it is unclear how the driver of the minibus in the accident at Brickery got possession of the vehicle and that investigations are continuing.
The police said it has “upped its ante” on speeding with the introduction of radar guns in various divisions. It is also calling on the public to be proactive in safeguarding their lives by cautioning speeding drivers and reporting traffic breaches by drivers and conductors. It urges the public to report drivers known to be driving with suspended licences and those seen driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The police also said threats or evictions from minibuses should be reported and condign action will be taken against those perpetrators.