In what is likely to be music to the ears of road safety advocates, the island’s leading rum producer is pushing for the immediate implementation of breathalyzer testing.
Managing Director of Mount Gay Distilleries Ltd Raphaël Grisoni told Barbados TODAY as the Crop Over season intensifies he hoped the new Barbados Labour Party administration would enforce of the relevant section of the amended Road Traffic Act which gives police officers the authority to request a breath sample from drivers suspected to be under the influence.
Then Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley had said all that was needed to begin enforcement of the Act was for police officers to undergo training in the use of the equipment that was to be imported.
This was immediately welcomed by the Barbados Road Safety Association, which has been consistent in its calls for such testing, along with other measures to reduce the number of accidents and deaths on the island’s roads.
Up to June 17 this year Barbados had recorded 19 road fatalities.
“Maybe I can make a call out to the new Government now. I think we as Barbadians cannot continue to ignore what is happening in the outside world – meaning all the rules against drunk driving,” Grisoni told Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of a beach cleaning exercise organized by the rum factory.
“The call to the Government is to make sure that we have the new regulation regarding certain levels of alcohol in the blood imposed. You know, the breathalyzer test. I am sure our police force can honour that easily now with the technology. We have tools which are really easy to use to test the level. I am very much in favour of that,” he said.
The Mount Gay executive also called for greater efforts to educate the population on the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol and the impact of alcohol abuse.
“We need to educate [Barbadians] on a [broader] basis. It could be at the University [of the West Indies], but we need to educate our younger generation about the impact of alcohol abuse,” Grisoni insisted.
During last year’s Crop Over season Mount Gay was among the companies that led a Pace Yourself social media campaign against alcohol abuse.
Grisoni said the company would undertake the campaign again this year as it seeks to engage all its customers and encourage them to drink responsibly at all times.
“At the end of the day we want to play a role in that and that is why we have this campaign, and this year again we will place emphasis on that,” he said.