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Dec 06, 2012 News
While the PPP Government blissfully bleeds the treasury, our people bleed and die needlessly on our roads, said Alliance For Change member, Gerhard Ramsaroop. His comments came as he recalled the death of Ronald Livingstone, someone well known to the media fraternity, and who gave great service to the AFC in the last election campaign.
He tragically lost his life four days ago in yet another fatal accident. Ronald, a father of four, was in the prime of his life, another scarce human resource gone, Ramsaroop added.
“As if it is not enough that we lose 80 per cent of our skilled people to migration to greener, safer pastures, the PPP Government continues to turn a blind eye to this situation that has evolved dramatically for the worse under its 20 years of rule.
“The Government instead, rests on its imaginary laurels, arguing that the many vehicles symbolise progress, and refuse to formulate, much less implement a proper road transportation policy.
“While road accidents are a reality everywhere in the world, Guyana’s situation is particularly deplorable. We do not possess a complex network of roads nor do we have extensive multilane highways.
“However, the difference with the rest of the civilised world is that we have a free-for-all compounded by corrupt law enforcement and corrupt drivers licence acquisition practices. Anyone, with the requisite sum of $50,000 can obtain a driver’s licence in Guyana today.”
He said that these inexperienced people do not know the rules of the road. This is made worse by inadequate road demarcation and signage, and poorly planned roads.
“The four-lane East Bank Highway, for example, has no storage lanes, nor adequate space for parking. This leads to the fulltime use of the right lane, particularly by heavy vehicles, though the right lane is supposed to be reserved for overtaking and turning, resulting in a dangerously uneven flow of traffic. In effect, this highway functions less efficiently than a wide two-lane road, Ramsaroop said.
The PPP managed also to reduce the efficiency of the Rupert Craig four-lane Highway by implementing a solid barrier for most of its length.
“Then you have the Berbice Bridge that bars cyclists and cannot take machinery weighing more than 20 tonnes. Those machines, for example excavators and draglines, have to be crossed by barge which costs more than shipping a container from the US to Guyana.”
“As it relates to road demarcation, not only is it inadequate and haphazard, but the PPP also employs a special instantly fading road paint that keeps those buying the paint very happy. Since metal signs last much longer than PPP road paint, the Government hardly uses them as there is less scope for corruption there.”
Overseeing and further incubating this chaos is none other than the PPP’s “best” Minister, Clement Rohee, the AFC member charged.
“This Minister arrogantly declared that only the PPP can judge him, and not the people whom he is supposed to serve. How many more will die under his baleful watch? How many more will die before the PPP does something?”
The AFC, therefore, demands that the Government immediately formulate and implement a comprehensive road transportation policy that would include incentives for big buses to return to our roads, revamping the way we issue drivers licences and making more efficient use of our limited roadways by scheduling container trucks and garbage vehicles, sensible lane demarcation and prioritising of roads, and introducing the 4-way stop system. This must of course, be done through meaningful consultation of all stakeholders, including the business community, Town Councils and Customs House.
There must also be a proper road expansion plan, which is not rocket science, and made easier by plans available from the 1960’s and 70’s, such as the alternate East Bank route and the Del Conte Highway, Ramsaroop noted.
Somehow, PPP progress always seems to cost us so much, at so many levels, he added.
The repressive and oppressive taxation system for the importation of vehicles must also be overhauled so as to encourage newer, smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles.
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