In an effort to continue raising awareness for National Road Safety Month, yesterday the Guyana National Road Safety Council (GNRSC) conducted a public march in remembrance of victims of road accidents. The event was hosted in collaboration with the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Ministry of Home Affairs. Participants of the march walked from the Kitty Seawall Junction, along Carifesta Avenue to the Police Band Stand on the Kingston seawall.
This year’s National Road Safety Month was observed under the theme “The time is now, don’t drink and drive, stay attentive, drive defensive”.
Along the way, marchers handed out fliers to drivers and pedestrians, providing information on road safety laws and procedures which citizen are advised to follow.
As part of the procession, GNRSC displayed the wreckage of a car involved in an accident to remind participants and observers of the severe consequences of reckless driving.
The activity was concluded with a short presentation by the GNRSC and GPF at the Police Band Stand. During the presentation, police officers and family members of road accident victims emphasized the importance of road safety.
The presentation was chaired by Dennis Pompey and featured a road safety skit involving ‘Jumbie Jones’ and Henry Rodney. The skit tackled the topic of road safety education by promoting the practice of “defensive driving”.
Traffic Chief, Hugh Denhert, in his address to the crowd, reinforced the GPF’s focus on finding solutions to combat problems that hinder road safety development.
“The magnitude of vehicles on our roadways has put a great strain on our capacity to enforce traffic regulations,” said Dehnert. “It is in this regard that the GPF has placed emphasis on educating our road users to practice safe road use.”
However, the Traffic Chief voiced his frustration and sadness with the current state of road safety in Guyana. According to the official, so far 122 persons have died as a result of road accidents for the year.
Meanwhile, the acting Chairman of the GNRSC, Norman McLean, described Guyana as being in “real trouble” with regard to road safety. He stated that instead of declining, deaths due to road accidents have increased in the past 10 years. The acting Chairman related his concern that citizens “don’t care about road safety”, which could be the reason for the country’s rising road fatalities.
In speaking to Kaieteur News, Margaret Jardim, a regular participant of the march related her disappointed in this year’s turn out to the march. Jardim had lost her daughter Trishanna Jardim in 2005 to a reckless driver and has been involved in similar activities since then.
She related that support in the cause has been on the decline since 2005. The activist also noted that she no longer hears from organisations like “Mothers in Black”, which once spearheaded the movement.
Jardim also lost her nephew Adam De Jesus, in 2012 in an accident. The mother is calling for more support from the Guyanese public on road education, so that other parents do not face the loss she has suffered.
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