Fiasco in SVG as traffic brought to standstill
Our Readers' Opinions
October 20, 2023

Fiasco in SVG as traffic brought to standstill

EDITOR: Friday, October 13, 2023 is a day most, if not all commuters and drivers from the Windward side of St Vincent, who travelled to town that day between 6 am and 9 am will remember. It was the day that the traffic department of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadine Police Force brought the traffic from that side of the island to an almost stand-still.

Vehicles backed up from the old airport in Arnos Vale to as far as Prospect and Fairbairn Pasture. It was a sight to behold.

There could be no doubt that this was deliberate. Whether it was successful is up to the men and women in uniform to decide. One thing is certain, it caught many by surprise.

At first, most people thought it was an accident. After all, what else could have them held up in traffic for so long; in some cases, almost two hours. As time progressed, everyone soon realized that it was the police flexing their muscles and stamping their authority. They were stopping vehicles, checking drivers for licenses, insurance and other necessary documents relating to the traffic regulations. It was a morning some drivers wish they could have swum or flown to Kingstown.

The situation in many respect was frustrating, depressing, and generated a great level of anxiousness, stress and restlessness on the part of some drivers, road users and commuters. Further, it resulted in persons arriving late for work, appointments, planned activities, school and may have even affected productivity in some work places.

Despite this, the police must be commended for their efforts. They demonstrated a great degree of intentionality, objectivity and determination. In the current complex and constant changing environment in which we operate, these qualities are important for effective policing.

Perhaps the police have come to realize that it cannot be business as usual. That it is time not only to close the back door which some use to abuse the system, but also to raise the bar. Notwithstanding, take the bull by its horn and make their presence felt.

After all, it is their duty to make sure that all drivers and vehicle owners comply with the respective traffic laws. That all vehicles are road worthy, licensed and ensured. And that pedestrians, commuters and road users are safe. If they don’t do it, no one will.

Time will reveal if what we witnessed on Friday, October 13 is an indication of a paradigm shift, or a sign of better things to come.

Truth be told, it was not so much what the police did that created the fiasco. But, rather, that the exercise should have been more thoroughly studied, planned, strategized and organized. Further, managed with a greater level of professionalism, competency and effectiveness. The police possessed the capacity to do so.

Take for example. On the day in question, the police could have checked only those vehicles with number plates that end with the same figure or digit; for the sake of it, say six. Or mini vans only. Spread out the process over a period of time until such time necessary. Once checked, issue each driver with documentation to provide evidence of same. Had this or a similar method been utilized, it would have eased the stress on all concerned, and prevented the traffic fiasco.

Conclusively, it must be said that in the absence of certain technology, which would greatly enhance the work of the police, their task is indeed a daunting one.

We wish them success in their endeavours to ensure that drivers, vehicle owners, road users and pedestrians respect the relevant traffic regulations.

The Watch Dog