Over a year after its subvention from Government was chopped, the organization tasked with advocating for safer roads across Barbados seems to be running out of steam as it struggles to keep its programmes going.
During a recent launch of the association’s annual road safety week, the Barbados Road Safety Association’s (BRSA’s) Public Relations Officer Richard Cox said it was in deep financial trouble.
He said for it to restart some of its programmes and continue others it would require a lot more than it was currently able to raise.
“I can tell you straight out that we have never been in more serious financial trouble than now,” said Cox, who has been with the organization for more than two decades.
“We cannot continue like this. We are falling apart. We must have finances. We get a lot of well-wishers. All the time people come up to us on various occasions and thank us for what we are doing but we must have finances. There is so much out there on these roads that need to be done,” he said.
The association’s Junior Road Rangers programme was stopped after its Government funding was removed.
Cox said the association has since been forced to go begging, cap in hand, for funding to carry out its education projects, such as the dangers of drink driving and other road safety campaigns.
“My short appeal is to beg all of those persons who wish us well to come forward and give us some financial and other help. For many of our projects, we have to end up at nights outside of supermarkets begging alms. I am not ashamed. I am telling you the truth but this should not be for what we are trying to do,” said Cox.
President of the BRSA Sharmane Roland-Bowen explained that the organization wanted to do more promotion of road safety at schools and organizations.
Roland-Bowen said while she was grateful for the assistance BRSA was currently receiving from the General Insurance Association of Barbados (GIAB) and other partners, it was simply not enough to carry out its full mandate.
She could not immediately say what dollar amount was needed to run the organization and carry out all its programmes on an annual basis, but said the required help went beyond funding.
“There is so much that can be done out there to make our roads safer as it relates to education and other projects that we can do to help to reduce accidents,” she said.
So far this year Barbados has recorded 27 road fatalities.
The Road Safety Week of celebration and awareness kicks off next week Sunday with a Remembrance Day church service.