It has been proposed that Barbados and other countries in the region take immediate action to form an International Road Federation (IRF) Caribbean co-operative that will meet virtually each quarter and in person annually at the regional conference.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the IRF 10th Annual Conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, on Friday, Senior Vice Chairman of the IRF Dr William Sowell, said it was evident that there needs to be increased communication, cooperation, and collaboration, between CARICOM nations regarding road safety and transportation.
He pointed out that evena though Caribbean countries share similar challenges, there are cultural, geographical and size-specific issues that make their needs slightly different.
However, Dr Sowell said the IRF can assist Caribbean nations in sourcing funding to finance road safety and transportation projects.
“The IRF wants to be your trusted partner. If the desire and commitment are present, we can make this happen. The IRF is also forming a sustainable resilient finance committee dealing with climate change issues,” he said.
Dr Sowell said this year’s IRF conference which was organised by the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTWW) and Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), was the most successful one to date.
In fact, the vice chairman said that since the IRF was founded in 1948, there has never been 11 ministers of transport gathered at a single event, as was the case at the 10th conference.
“Barbados has set a very high standard that will be very difficult to meet going forward. So congratulations, well done and thank you. We have a record of more than 250 attendees,” he said.
Dr Sowell said that over the duration of the four-day conference which started on June 7, participants engaged in knowledge training, best practices, transfer networking, relationship building and renewing and developing new personal professional relationships and friendships.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources, Santia Bradshaw said Government was pleased to host the conference which has been deemed a success.
Nevertheless, the minister said the challenge would now be for all conference participants to apply the knowledge they would have acquired to improving systems in their respective countries.
“My challenge to all of you is to don’t let what we would have learnt here die here,” Bradshaw said. (AH)