President of the Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) Sharmane Roland-Bowen has dismissed as “false promises”, an announcement by Minister of Transport Michael Lashley that improved road traffic legislation would go before Parliament by June of this year.
Lashley said last week during debate on the 2017/2018 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure that there would be a “comprehensive overhaul” of legislation governing the transportation sector “hopefully in June”, that would result in better monitoring and inspection of road users and improved tax collection.
Just short of four years earlier, in May 2013, the minister had told the Second International Road Federation Caribbean Regional Congress here that his ministry was in the process of amending the Road Traffic Act to include the wearing of helmets by cyclists, semi-annual inspection of public service vehicles, annual inspection of private motor vehicles over a certain age, speeding, and the use of communication devices while driving.
With no visible signs of progress since, Roland-Bowen told Barbados TODAY said she was not taking the minister seriously.
“We have been hearing the same thing. He has come with nothing new. This is the same thing we have been hearing all last year and the year before. Until we actually see something put in action . . . it is only false promises again,” a less than optimistic Roland-Bowen said.
She argued that if Lashley were serious about bringing legislation in about three months’ time, the necessary provisions would already have been in place.
“Up to now I haven’t heard of any equipment for breathalyzer being bought, no police officer has started training for the use of the breathalyzer, so I don’t know how we could be getting this legislation in June. When that gets approved we now have to go through the whole process and that is going to take time and just now is Crop Over and all of these collisions are going to be upon us,” Roland-Bowen complained.
“If he is so sure that these amendments are going before the House and they are going to start, why not start sourcing the equipment and start training the officers? The officers need to be properly trained in the use of this type of equipment and the proper procedure they need to follow when they are exposing people for the preliminary testing and more evidentiary testing at the station. Nothing so has been done, so I just see it as a whole set of promises.”
The road safety advocate said the BRSA would continue its safe driving education campaign by distributing copies of the highway code and embarking on a series of road shows.
She also called on private sector entities to join the initiative.