An initiative by telecommunications company Flow and insurance company Consumers’ Guarantee Insurance (CGI), to introduce breathalyzer testing here for the Crop Over season has received the full backing of Minister of Industry, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss and road safety advocate Sharmane Roland-Bowen.
In fact, Inniss predicted that the move could possibly serve as a first step towards making breathalyzer testing mandatory.
The partnership includes Flow, CGI and BeepCab, a taxi booking application that will be used to secure transportation for drivers found to have had too much to drink.
“While we don’t yet have the legislation to make it mandatory to use breathalyzer machines, I must commend CGI and their partners for stepping up to the plate and making them available,” Inniss said as he addressed the official launch of Flow’s Big Blue Summer campaign at Copacabana, Bay Street Thursday night.
“I believe it will serve as a deterrent, and, subliminal or otherwise, it starts the process of introducing breathalyzer machines into Barbados,” he added.
Inniss’ enthusiasm for the initiative was shared by President of the Barbados Road Safety Association Sharmane Roland-Bowen who told Barbados TODAY she was pleased that corporate Barbados was taking the lead in this regard.
However, she said it was about time Government enacted the necessary legislation to make breathalyzer tests mandatory.
“I am so happy to see that corporate Barbados both CGI and Flow are taking the responsibility. This is a step forward. So the only thing we are waiting on are the Government officials to sign the dotted lines and just get it out there.
“People want it. It has been proven that it can reduce accidents and save lives. So what is the hold up?” Roland-Bowen asked while pledging to monitor drinking patterns during the Crop Over season.
In announcing that Flow had spent approximately $500,000 on various sponsorship packages for the festival, Director of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Marilyn Sealy said the telecommunications company chose to place emphasis on promoting responsible drinking this year.
“We are delighted to say that Flow will be championing this effort by facilitating sober zones at sponsored parties, offering breathalyzer tests facilitated by Consumers’ Guarantee Insurance, along with the provision of transport services for any patron requiring assistance in conjunction with BeepCab,” Sealy said.
The telecommunications company will also partner with the newly formed Barbados Beverage Alcohol Alliance to bring across its message. Patrons at various Crop Over events will have the opportunity to voluntarily test their blood alcohol levels.
Meantime, Inniss dismissed recent threats on social media of a “bloodbath” on Foreday Morning.
Without naming the threat, the minister insisted that Barbadians should not be deterred.
“Don’t mind the foolishness they put up on social media sites; we will party and celebrate Crop Over. But we must do so in a responsible manner,” he said.