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|The highways are Guyana’s killing fields|
|Sunday, 24 June 2012 21:22|
TWENTY-seven-year-old Dias Trotz, son of Senior Superintendent Owen Trotz,
Acting Commander of the Police ‘C’ Division, East Coast Demerara, was involved in an accident between a minibus and a pickup at 58 Miles Mabura, yesterday, at approximately 07:00hrs. He died while receiving treatment at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
Both vehicles were said to have been speeding at the time.
Lawless road users kill themselves and others, but while their personal choice to drink and drive, or to drive recklessly endangers their own lives, there is the irredeemable fact that their choices many times destroy many lives – innocent lives of victims either killed or crippled who are their direct victims, or the indirect victims left to mourn; children, parents, wives, husbands, or other loved ones.
Losing someone to illness, while painful, is mitigated somewhat by their protracted suffering over a period so that the end is not unexpected; but losing someone who is healthy and productive, especially a provider and a protector, generates pain so immeasurable that the grieving relatives and friends sometimes carry that pain – to a greater or lesser degree, to their graves.
If one peruses the newspapers over a period of time they will see that an accident is caused, or happens, almost every day. These include minor ones where there are no reported casualties. There are many collisions that go unreported as a mutual decision by both parties in an effort to avoid the perceived humbug of bureaucratic processes, but the horrific carnage continues unabated, despite many campaigns by the police to curb lawlessness on the roads.
“TRACOR,” conceived and implemented by former Commissioner of Police, Laurie Lewis, was the forerunner of many current initiatives aimed at curbing the lawlessness on Guyana’s roads and reducing fatalities and accidents that prove so costly in terms of human and other resources.
“Mothers in Black” is a grouping started by Denise Dias, who uses this medium to transform the meaningless death by accident of her beloved daughter, Alicea, into a meaningful, even if tragic, catalyst for restructuring and enforcement of traffic laws.
The group has achieved some degree of success, but they are not resting on their laurels, because they recognise that this is an ongoing struggle, and they are continuing to lobby at various fora with the ultimate intent of making Guyana’s roadways a relatively safe avenue for purposes of intra-country travel.
However, while laws may be passed to guide motorists, these laws are not often adhered to, with much indifference shown by some traffic police officers, especially some rogue elements in the Force, who turn a blind eye to infringements in exchange for rewards in cash or kind.
Passengers are still held ransom to unscrupulous, uncaring drivers and conductors of minibuses, who continue to play vulgar music at unendurable decibels, despite the ban. Some drivers are always high on some substance, either drugs or alcohol, and until random testing is done this dangerous habit will continue, with the impaired judgment of errant drivers continuing to contribute in a large measure to the carnage on the roads.
Bus and taxi fares are continually and indiscriminately being increased, placing great burden on commuters, and the threats and abuses that are directed to hapless passengers who cannot afford the higher prices, and also to schoolchildren, are criminal and should carry some degree of penalty.
A sense of humanity does not seem to exist in the souls of many minibus operators, who pass by with near-empty buses, leaving schoolchildren and the elderly stranded, sometimes in pouring rain or blazing sunshine.
And it is the very rare driver who stops at marked crossings to allow pedestrian traffic across roadways. There have been many instances where speeding vehicles have killed people on the crossings.
Even rarer are drivers who allow courtesy to prevail and stop to allow pedestrians to cross roadways where there are no crossings.
An irresponsible decision to drink and drive, a moment’s inattention, jumping a traffic light, or any other infringement or violation of the traffic laws can catalyze unendurable pain and immeasurable loss, and the destruction of the countless lives whose survival systems are obliterated by the deaths or incapacitation of the victims.
Changing the laws will have scant effect unless it is accompanied by effective implementation and enforcement; and the proliferation of lawless road users, as well as the unabated continuum of deadly accidents on Guyana’s roadways, is proof that there is no real intent by the relevant authorities to let the punishment fit the crimes, because unlawful and reckless behaviour on Guyana’s roadways that takes lives is murder, because such behaviour is by choice, with the drivers knowing fully well the possible outcomes of killing innocent persons on Guyana’s highways.
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