Parking on the shoulders of the road, especially in East Berbice, Region 6, is becoming worse by the day, a senior official is complaining.
Pointing to a number of occasions where the issue was raised this year, the Prime Minister’s Representative in the area, Gobin Harbhajan, noted that the problem is on both sides of the Upper Corentyne highway.
“Unfortunately like many other significant issues affecting the Region 5 and 6 areas, the relevant authorities are bent on doing what they do best: ignore it and wish it goes away. I had mentioned that the roadways are not only congested and strewn with operable vehicles, machinery and equipment, but with a lot of old and disused ones as well, making the roadsides a permanent garage and cemetery.”
He said that over the past years, the situation has deteriorated with great alacrity.
“The lines of vehicles are stretching as the authorities are increasingly playing the blame game with various ministries. Many complaints were repeatedly made to the NDCs and police, but to no avail. It must be stated that the NDCs are not cooperating or making any efforts to have these things removed by serving the vehicle owners with adequate notices.”
Harbhajan noted that Chapter 51:02 Section 52 (c) gives the Commissioner of Police the power “to prohibit or restrict the parking of vehicles in any road or in any part of the road generally or on particular occasions or during particular hours”.
“This can easily be done to remove the ‘dead vehicles’ parked along the roadsides, and this is where the police and NDCs and their overseers and chairmen can work hand in hand in getting these things removed and submit reports to the Commissioner so that he can initiate action.”
He questioned whether a vehicle owner can use the side of the road as a permanent parking place when it is not in use.
“The Police Commissioner needs to make some recommendations which can be made into laws. We cannot afford to have even one death resulting from this willful misuse of our roadways and it is time that we strive to protect our citizens from this avoidable carnage of human lives. It is useless to appeal to the sentiments of these vehicle owners.”
According to the official, it seems as if the arms of the law are tied – the owners see no reason to remove the encumbrances on the roadways.
“I have also raised the matter at the RDC level in 2015, but no action was taken, and I have repeatedly brought this up with various ministries, including the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Ministry of Communities and the Ministry of Public Security, but no resolutions.”
He pointed out that apart from endangering lives, the parked vehicles – especially the old and decrepit ones – are an eyesore, and significantly affect and impact on the aesthetic qualities of the communities.
“Many times in the night, animals, especially cows and donkeys, would rush from behind these parked vehicles, posing a real danger to drivers who on many occasions have to take evasive action. This has resulted in serious accidents in the past, some fatal.”
The official noted that the parking is also affecting cleaning and excavation by the authorities. “Are we getting value for money here? It is no wonder that these areas are prone to flooding.
Apart from affecting motorists, the pedestrians using the roads are faced with a game of ‘Russian roulette’ when trying to walk past these parked vehicles. They sometimes have to walk for a few rods before they can actually be safe on the road shoulders again.”
He said that another very dangerous situation arising in these areas is the piling of tons of mud and slush on the road by mostly tractors and trailers during the rainy season.
“This makes the road very slippery and traction very difficult. In addition, the unsightly nature of the entire area becomes very depressing, especially when all the vehicles traversing the road will have an appearance like a farm machine. Why not a hefty fine for these people who pile dirt on our roads?
I do hope that these issues will finally dawn on the relevant authorities as being serious and need to be addressed immediately.”
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