The Guyana Police Force has indicated increasing impatience with tints, those dark, impenetrable ones from the outside. The GPF is doing so by starting on the inside with a focus on its own. That is good.
It is good to start somewhere with those who violate set standards, and ignore the law. Tints are a good cover for crime; provide identity security; good for perpetrators; bad for the public; good for the powerful to show that they are either above the law or have friends in the law; bad for the image of the GPF; and the confidence of citizens. Do something. There are other things traffic that both trouble and imperil.
Helmets or the lack of them; officers are right there: unmoving, untroubled, unmotivated. Nothing done. It is inconceivable that any police officer would be unable to come with any number of violations-dangerous ones-during the seemingly daylong rush hours. Now, if help is needed, the suggestion is to try the intersections of Middle and Camp Streets; and Lamaha and Vlissengen Road; and Regent and Camp Streets; and Brickdam and Camp Street. From a violator’s perspective, there are no traffic rules or traffic restraints at those hotspots. There is only occasion for dangerous recklessness.
Next, the problem of parking intensifies. The mayhem and madness are practised by a mutinous public, a not-so-sensible or civilized public. The good of the few versus that of the greater mass. A survey of taxi drivers and other road users would indicate strong support for parking meters. Let there be some rules, some courage and will too to get this vital necessity reintroduced and enforced. Give citizens and traffic overseers some space to function.
Then there are horns, long the favoured all-day toys of road hooligans. Guyanese use horns more than their minds, there is a honk for every occasion – stop sign, traffic light, pedestrian crossing.
Everywhere! Minibuses and taxis attract automatic condemnation; but women, youths, and older, mature adults are not innocent. Enough blame to spread around liberally. Enough guilty to fill a new jail.
Motorcycles are helpful to thread through traffic and get around the cramped spaces of a tight town. That is the good. However, though there is also the dangerous part that involves those minding their own traffic business and driving slow and straight.
In addition, there is, however, another aspect that is outrageous, unaddressed and, hence, continues unchecked, the presence and passage of these high-powered machines are announced in the roaring, revving, and reverberating of their engines around hospitals, schools, and other public places. This happens during the day and especially in the night when the open roads are an invitation to open the throttle.
As can be imagined, it is an unholy din that triggers sensitive alarm systems in vehicles, agitates dogs into barking frenzies, and disturbs the peace of those institutions dedicated to caring for the suffering and other silent zone areas. There is no regard for either condition or that much-needed peace. There is neither action ever meted out, nor strong message delivered, against the uncaring who treat law and basic civility with such scorn.
While it is appreciated that the Guyana Police Force is genuinely strapped for manpower, there is something that can be said from the strength of the observations of many. All too often, cruising law enforcement vehicles, traffic ranks on motorcycles, and officers stationed at various points ignore the barbarities and breaches that occur right before their eyes. On most occasions, nothing is done: no interception, no interference, no challenge. In many instances, it is a case of disinterest, distance, and pretended ignorance. A more diligent and aggressive stance could signal the beginning of lessening tolerance and a firmer line taken for the obvious traffic breaches and excesses. This is simply not being done.
More can be done by those responsible for policing the roads. Consistency and commitment can make a difference, and send simple messages: the roads belong to all. Use them right. Use them safely.
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