GFC institutes curfew for logging trucks

A loaded truck without brake lights or indicators traveling along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway at night. (Stabroek News file photo)

The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has instituted a curfew on the transport of forest products, including logs and lumber, on all public roadways in a bid to reduce accidents.

According to a public notice issued earlier this week by the GFC to all stakeholders involved in the forestry sector, the transportation by vehicle of forest products on all public roadways is prohibited after 6pm.

Additionally, the notice said that all vehicles which are transporting forest products must have reflectors attached to the truck/produce in such a way that the reflectors are clearly visible from a distance to all road users traveling behind the vehicles. Reflector cones are also expected to be kept permanently on the vehicles and are to be used properly when the trucks have to be “unavoidably parked” on the public roadways.

“These proposed restrictions are part of the Guyana Forestry Commission’s ongoing efforts, in collaboration with the Guyana Police Force and the Forest sector, to make our roads accident free,” the notice said, while adding that the GFC looks forward to the urgent cooperation from all stakeholders.

Road users have frequently complained that when lumber trucks encounter problems along public roads, such as the Linden-Soesdyke High-way, they are parked and create a traffic hazard on the road. In many cases, the vehicles are not adequately equipped with proper lights or traffic signs, which has resulted in a large number of accidents, including some fatal ones.

Meanwhile, government officials, including two junior ministers, met on Tuesday to discuss a response to accidents along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway.

According to a press release from the Depart-ment of Public Information (DPI), Minister within the Ministry of Communities Valerie Adams-Patterson-Yearwood, Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes, Parliamentarian Jermaine Figueira, Region Ten Chairman Renis Morian, and police officers sat down to address the occurrence of accidents along the highway.

The release said the discussion focused on measures to reduce the number of road accidents caused by logging trucks and suggestions put forward included placing markings on the 45-mile long highway and a speed limit review.

Minister Broomes, the release said, recommended that another meeting be held with key stakeholders, including Public Infrastructure Ministry officials and loggers, to gain their input. The minister pointed out that the GFC’s role is to focus on the processing of logs, which is currently being done in 24-hour cycles. This, she added, will be changed immediately.

Figueira, the release added, called for the restriction of log transportation to certain hours.

Minister Adams-Patterson-Yearwood requested that at the next meeting “decision makers should be present not only representatives” and that the police force provide statistics for the past years. She also suggested that the Region Ten administration and the GFC review the possibility of using the Demerara River as a means of transporting the logs, the release added.

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