Guyana’s Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, has expressed grave concern for the high number of road fatalities — a staggering 115 lives lost to date, many of them children, according to the traffic chief.
Patterson, in a recent exclusive interview with Caribbean Life in Georgetown, condemned reckless driving, and opined that most of the accidents were a direct result of the major works completed by the ministry, that made roadways smoother and nicer to traverse.
“We are concerned about deaths on the road, but we have done a lot, almost all major roadways have street lights, because we obviously want to ensure safety, and we want people to see properly when they are driving, unfortunately, most of the accidents are a direct consequence of smoother, nicer roads,” said the politician, who expressed these views, during a Christmas walkabout in the capital city of Georgetown.
Patterson, who will continue improving roads across Guyana into 2020, said he was collaborating with the Ministry of Public Security, and other agencies, to find innovative ways, such as installing speed bumps, and speed rumble strips, as well as applying new technologies, to curb speeding, and save lives. He reiterated that too many lives are being lost; as such, his office will work to curb reckless driving.
Additionally, the ministry is building a more efficient and safe public transportation system, that would see a return of large commuter buses, and a river transportation network that will give commuters easy access from the East Bank highway to the East Coast highway, via the waterway.
The member of Parliament, who was bombarded with questions during the meet and greet, explained that a study is being conducted, on how best to modernize the Stabroek Market square, in busy Georgetown.
The 80,000 sq. ft. market place that showcases the historic Stabroek Market clock, and overlooks the western flank of the Demerara River, will be remodeled, after a completed study.
Minister Patterson, the General Secretary of the Alliance For Change (AFC) an arm of the Coalition government, met with scores of Guyanese, to whom he extended best wished, adding.
“I would like to wish everyone a happy new year. I look forward to your support, and even more support in 2020. One good term deserves another,” said the politician, referring to the upcoming March 2, 2020, general and regional elections.
The ministers, who also shared toys, and gifts to the elderly, included, Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine, Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordon, Minister of Education, Nicholette Henry, and Tabetha Sarabo-Halley, Jr. minister within the Ministry of Public Service.
In the meantime, according to published reports, the National Road Safety Council of Guyana has launched the “Stop The Tears” Campaign, an initiative to address and cut the high percentage of deaths recorded on Guyana’s roadways. A teardrop logo was officially erected in Kitty, Georgetown, according to the Guyana Chronicle.
This is a partnership of Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), Traffic Department of the Guyana Police Force (GPF); Public Security Ministry, Public Health Ministry, Public Infrastructure Ministry and private sponsors.
The efforts are linked to spreading awareness on the importance of practicing road safety.
The Guyana Police Force stated that the leading causes of traffic mishaps in the country are speeding and driving while under the influence of alcohol. Other major causes are driving while distracted by use of a cellphone, pedestrian inattentiveness, and failure to heed traffic signs and warnings.