A worrying 14 road fatalities for the year – four more than those recorded for all of 2016 – has resulted in Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley making an impassioned plea to road users to be vigilant, be they drivers, pedestrians or cyclists.
“What I am asking is . . . to show some caution, so to be extremely careful on the roads. I have no control over someone who is out there driving recklessly, but I am pleading with those drivers to take their time, respect other road users, we don’t want to lose lives needlessly,” Lashley told Barbados TODAY.
The minister’s comments came on the heels the recent tragedies, including one that took the life of 12-year-old Springer Memorial Student Destiny Martina Thompson back in February at Boarded Hall Main Road, St George and the most recent being that of 49-year-old Station Sergeant Clifford Sherlock Bridgeman who died at the scene of a five-vehicle smash up, which occurred on Carrington Road, at its injunction with Edgecumbe Hill, St Philip.
There have also been several mass casualties involving public service vehicles (PSVs).
“What I am also recognizing, and I have seen it for myself, and it is not an attack on the PSV owners, that some of them are still driving recklessly, some of them are still driving with slippers and we are getting complaints about it.
“I am calling on owners of PSVs to speak to their employees, make sure that they respect the law and that they comply with the regulations under the Road Traffic Act,” he said.
Lashley said given all that was taking place on the island’s roads, his ministry was preparing to launch “a whole set of initiatives in the month of May dealing with road safety”.
He also reported that Government’s recent pothole repair initiative had “gone very well”.
“We have actually started the Mill and Pave Rehabilitative Programme, we have done a number of link roads and we will continue to do so. We are also looking to build some more concrete roads. We have done some in St Lucy, one in St Michael, so basically we are trying to get that sorted. It has gone very good,” the minister said.
As for the persistent issues facing residents in White Hill, St Andrew, Lashley assured that “we have not ignored White Hill”.
“We should get that report in another month,” he said.