Our roadways continue to be a magnet for deadly accidents, and as a result of the increase a lot of people pretending to have an interest get involved just to see what ‘hustle’ they could get for themselves or friends/families. In the meanwhile lives are being lost on the roads at an alarming rate. One of my friends is of the opinion that if the traffic police turned away from greed and did their work honestly, the carelessness displayed by motorists would cease to exist. I wholeheartedly agree with him, but that would hardly happen due to the failure to prosecute those who are caught committing wrongdoing within the police force. The government and the business community – especially those who import vehicles (auto sales) – insurance companies, banks and various companies (using big vehicles which traverse and destroy the roads) need to support the Road Safety Council which is cash strapped, so that it could commence its numerous projects to help make the roads safer.
One of my main concerns is that apart from the corruption within the police force, there are other elements that could help reduce accidents, but corruption again is hampering that. We have seen lots of road signs being erected, many of which are placed in positions that eventually cause them to fall or lean so that motorists cannot see what the sign is. Approximately six months ago one of the signs at La Jalousie on the West Coast Demerara fell and to date it is still there, being overrun by bush and grass. Traversing from the Demerara Harbour Bridge to Parika, you will see many other signs in similar condition, and it makes you wonder what the real purpose behind the signs is. Is the intention to help make the roadways safer or is the person only interested in the money collected from the work?
The Ministry of Public Works is the ministry responsible for road signs, and the engineers from that ministry are supposed to ensure that the locations where these signs are erected are suitable before the contractor gets paid. Given the condition and position of these signs, however, there seems to be a question as to whether this is done. Given the time they have spent on the ground, most of the fallen signs will be rotten or damaged because of contact with debris on the ground or because of stray animals walking on them, and I am quite sure that the contractor will get more money to put back new signs.
Another concern is that most of these signs are clamped onto galvanized pipes, whose height makes them accessible to both children and adults whose idle minds could cause damage. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that if you bore a hole through the clamp and pipe and screw it down or weld the clamp and pipe together it would make the sign immobile.
Finally Editor, there is much talk about the road being extended into a four lane highway on the West Coast Demerara and that a certain section was in need of repair. Folks were aware that work might commence soon, but pointed out that the condition of the road was the cause of many accidents and should be repaired immediately. Repairs to the road were completed over one week ago, and I wondered why the rush to repair it when you are aware that it will be extended soon? Why not restore the fallen signs instead of waiting for the extension? Why give motorists better roads so they can drive faster and more dangerously? Isn’t there any mechanism to curb this carelessness? Do these people who are involved in making our roads safer have any vision to make the roads better?