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Bishop John Gaskin adds his name to the growing list of citizens who support the introduction of the breathalyser test in Barbados. Looking on is NCPADD President, Pastor Victor Roach.

 
   

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Make roads safer!

11/16/2009

IN ADDITION to the repeated call for the introduction of breathalyser testing in Barbados, a call has been made for a national audit to ensure that the highways and byways of the island are “roadworthy”.

This observation was made by President of the National Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Dependency, Pastor Victor Roach, during a service to remember those who lost their lives in accidents or were otherwise affected by these tragic incidents over the years.

His comments came at the True Vine Church of God in Christ yesterday as Barbados joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Remembrance Day for Traffic Victims.

Pastor Roach, who revealed that he narrowly escaped death or serious injury back in 1987 after being involved in a collision with a drunk driver, told the congregation that he will continue to advocate the need for breathalyser testing in Barbados.

He stressed, however, that problems on our roads have to be addressed holistically and pointed to the need for a national road audit to ensure that the roads meet the standards that promote health and safety.

In addition, Pastor Roach wants greater police manpower to adequately deal with challenges on the road and he is urging motorists to use seatbelts, cyclists to use their safety helmets and pedestrians to pay greater attention when using the roads on the island.

He noted that while the road to getting the breathalyser being introduced has been a long one, he stated that God is overseeing this matter, pointing to steps being taken by neighbouring Trinidad and Guyana the latter of which has already started using the test.

Pastor Roach said that with 1.2 million people dying worldwide from crashes annually, Barbados’ 20 persons may seem low in comparison. He warned however, that the total number of persons who perished in these accidents does not paint an accurate picture of how many people who suffer as a result, be it a relative, the wider community or even a workplace. He also urged the congregation to think about the first responders who are also traumatised by their tragic accidents.

He noted that along with the grieving process, of which many people are unable to cope, some persons lose their faith, they lose marriages and even develop post traumatic stress disorder. He made an appeal for persons to “get serious” about the topic and reduce the number of accidents and crashes on the nation’s roads.

The third Sunday of November is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. Initiated by RoadPeace in 1993, this day is now globally recognised. On 26th October 2005 the UN General Assembly on 26th October 2005 urged all member states to recognise the third Sunday in November of every year as the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims as an appropriate acknowledgement for victims of road traffic crashes and their families. (JH)

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