Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) parliamentarian Santia Bradshaw has accused Government of dragging its feet on amendments to the Road Traffic Act.
Minister of Transport Michael Lashley told Parliament last night that the Freundel Stuart administration was moving ahead with the proposed legal changes. However, Bradshaw complained about the pace of implementation.
“Now I do accept that there will have to be consultation with the various partners, but the fact remains that various stakeholders have been calling for amendments to the legislation for quite some time and I know the honourable minister is well aware of that,” Bradshaw said.
“He would have succeeded the previous minister, and even under the previous minister the amendments to the regulations were not in fact done. So we find ourselves now seven years into the Democratic Labour Party administration and yet again we are hearing today that the amendments to the Road Traffic Act are in the process of drafting,” the St Michael South East MP further complained.
She also pointed out that the breathalyser test was yet to be introduced, even though it has been on the cards for several years, including during the opposition Barbados Labour Party’s tenure in office.
“I am somewhat concerned that we are hearing that at least one in three persons who have to go to the QEH [Queen Elizabeth Hospital] in terms of deaths on the road, are caused as a result of persons under the influence of alcohol.
“What we’re finding is that you have a situation where if the breathalyser test was able to be instituted by the police officers at the scene, it would actually save a considerable amount of time for persons at Accident & Emergency doing a lot of the diagnostic tests that they have to do. And that was a view that was expressed by persons within the Accident & Emergency [Department],” Bradshaw said.
She added that the current administration, and by extension Parliament, would be doing the country an injustice should the amendments be further delayed.
“Too many people are losing their lives and one of the deeper concerns is that you have a number of cases going before the court where the breathalyser test results would actually be useful for the prosecutors and certainly the police to be able to use in the course of prosecuting the case.
“Now in the absence of having that, I believe that again an injustice is being done in the criminal justice system, and it is one certainly that this administration has to take seriously. It has to be approached with a certain degree of concern, because we cannot allow persons to be dying on our roads and we’re not able to bring them [the perpetrators] before the law courts as expeditiously as we possibly can,” Bradshaw said. (MCW)