Full Disclosure
January 27, 2006

Concern for pedestrians

The issue of recklessness on the roads has been one which we have had to grapple with for a long time. The year is still very young, but it is not too soon to conclude that we have brought with us into the New Year a few of our bad habits, driving without due care and attention being one of such.{{more}}

Two weeks ago, whilst standing in front of the Kingstown General Post Office, I witnessed what could have turned out to be one of the most damaging blows to our nation’s international image.

Three visitors to our island came extremely close to what can be considered a near-death experience owing to the irrational behaviour of one of our nation’s drivers. In this case three pedestrians were spared, the traffic continued as normal, it was spoken about for a few seconds then we all got back to work. This is definitely the sort of incident we must attempt to avoid at all cost.

Drivers do in fact know that it is illegal to drive at “break-neck” speed through the capital yet it is done on a daily basis.

In many instances the Police are the ones who receive the blame for the recklessness of others. What must be noted however is while we recognize that the Police have the duty to maintain law and order and to prosecute those who disregard the law, citizens must be considered as having an even higher duty which is to act within the precincts of the law.

Minibus operators must also be called upon to exercise greater care on our roads. We must never fail to realize that driving in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is comparatively more challenging than in many other countries, we have relatively narrower roads, deeper and shorter corners and a road network which runs along the coast for the most part cutting around extremely dangerous headlands and promontories. These features all add to the danger which must be always twinned with the fear of possible mechanical failure.

Urgent attention must be given to road safety. I am convinced that the necessary legislation is in place to address the problem. The rest of the solution depends on us. Solving this problem demands a national effort. Vincentians must feel safer using our roads. With an increased presence of tourists in our capital the onus is on us to protect our visitors.

Zero tolerance must therefore be given to recklessness on the roads.