Maybe it is the general public-the drivers and pedestrians alike-and not the traffic signals who should be characterized as nuisances. As Guyanese we have become so accustomed to disorder that we view with consternation any attempt to regulate movement in an orderly fashion. We fail to recognize that the proper adherence to traffic signals could prove to be an advantage rather than a disadvantage. And it is precisely due to this failure that “motorists have chosen to use the narrow back streets of central Georgetown and Campbellville” to avoid the traffic lights.
Is the lawlessness so ingrained that it has supplanted memories of a time in Guyana when traffic signals were a norm and when there were well-trained traffic officials who were not only skilled in their duties but eager to lawfully enforce regulations? I am in my thirties and I recall quite vividly well positioned traffic arrangement in the form of lights, stop signs, and clear road markings. Agents of the traffic department and crossing guards performed their assignments above reproach. It is quite conceivable that the younger generation has not experienced such order. How-ever, it is appalling that we are satisfied with the current state of affairs and are quite willing to revert to that time, not so long ago, when driving in Georgetown would shatter the nerves of the civic-minded and courteous, when several vehicles converged at intersections with bewildered drivers at their wheels. It is also appalling that it took the relevant authorities so long to reintroduce-in such limited scope-order on our roads despite the new culture of drivers, who, if not stopped within the law, will continue the carnage that I read about in the newspapers on a daily basis.
As a people, we should want more for ourselves. We should want even better for the young among us. We should welcome the resumption of some order that we have, too eagerly, relinquished. We cannot and should not want to go back to the time when our own ignorance and impatience have allowed us to act so irresponsibly that we endanger others. I concede that studying the effects of the lights is relevant but only in making them more effective in thwarting the dangers that are evident from the vehicles driven by the ignorant.
Lest we have already forgotten, a young high school boy perished at the hands of one such miscreant who, because of diminished intelligence, rushed through a stop light.
When we leave the shores of Guyana, we marvel at the order we enjoy in other countries, but what we call progress off our shores, we label “nuisance” in our own backyard!