The list of persons dying in road accidents due to the parking of vehicles on both sides of the Corentyne Highway continues to escalate while persons in authority display the tendency to be deaf, dumb and blind to this avoidable carnage of our citizens.
The PM’s Representative in Berbice, Mr Gobin Harbhajan, highlighted these ‘weapons of mass destruction’ at the end of last year, and he lamented the fact that no ministry was taking the responsibility of removing these vehicles which include abandoned and derelict ones. These obstructions include tractors, trailers, draglines, water pumps, combines, grain carts, tanks and other types of agricultural machinery. This gets worse when large swathes of paddy which actually take over more than half of the road are being dried by the same farmers guilty of illegal parking. It was stated that pedestrians also faced a high risk venture when they traverse these areas.
A few days ago another horrific accident at No 59 Village on the Corentyne sent shock waves through Region 6, when a car returning from the CJIA slammed into a parked lorry on the side of the road. Regardless of what explanation is given, the fact is if the lorry was not parked there then the accident would not have been fatal. One life is lost and another victim is fighting for her life.
Moreover, when one looks at all the deadly accidents on the Corentyne Highway a common trend can be discerned: all the vehicles slammed into these parked obstructions. In the gruesome accident which claimed the lives of five persons, the driver tried in vain to evade a pothole and rammed into an approaching lorry when he tried to avoid hitting the obstructions on the roadside. According to onlookers, if there were no parked obstructions then the driver would have evaded the approaching lorry.
I am also disturbed by the allegedly doctored reports submitted by the police which fail to present the facts. These are always about drivers falling asleep or being drunk. There is now an increasing number of grain carts parked on the roadsides. Each gran cart has the capacity for 80 bags of paddy and they have no lights or reflectors, and I am sure that they are not licensed. I am not against the rice farmers using technology, but they must follow the laws and they need to be reminded that they should not present a risk to other road users.
As an NDC Councillor, I am requesting that the Commissioner of Police investigate the allegations I mentioned and instruct his officers to enforce the laws so that we can save some of the lives of our citizens.