In addition to the Prime Minister, she disclosed that the Association also intends to send correspondence this week to Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, the Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Lashley, and Minister of Health, John Boyce, regarding their proposals, and also informing them that members of the BRSA will be going into their respective constituencies seeking to garner support for the cause. She indicated that thereafter, the campaign will be extended islandwide, and the objective will be to raise awareness, educate, and garner support for the cause from all Barbadians,by way of collecting signatures and letters.
“These ministries play a very important role to the success of these proposed countermeasures, and stand to benefit the most, especially where the impact on our health care system can be significantly reduced. Over the years, we have come to realise one minister alone does not have what it takes to swim against the tide and reap success among his peers in the matter of safety on our roads, therefore, safety and its success lie in numbers,” she explained.
Roland-Bowen added, “We are no longer encouraging them to act, but demanding that they act and put the lives of our people as priority number one.”
Among the measures the BRSA is putting forward, is to move the minimum age to purchase alcohol from 16 to 18 years, to coincide with the age of majority in this country and the legal voting age.
In laying out the details of the campaign to the media, she purported that one way to enforce such a stipulation, would be for persons to be mandated to present identification when making the purchase. She suggests that penalties for minors who break the minimum drinking age law should be for a first offence, a social contract; a second offence, a fixed penalty fine and a third offence, arrest and admission to a rehabilitation programme.
The road safety advocate said that as part of the campaign, they are also proposing that penalties be instituted for adults who purchase alcohol for minors, and also persons who sell alcohol to minors. Additionally, she said there should be a zero tolerance policy for newly licensed drivers, for up to 2 years after licensing.
Moreover, she is calling for warning labels to be placed on alcoholic beverages, stating the harmful effects of and dangers of excessive alcohol use, as is done with cigarettes. She said this is a practice in other countries, and Barbados should follow suit.
“If we make alcohol here, why not make some labels here too and put the dangers on the same alcoholic beverages… It can be pictorial or it can be written, there is no preference as long as the warning is there,” she stated.
And last, but by no means least, the road safety advocate is calling on Government to fast forward the long awaited breathalyser and the accompanying legislation, to help deter persons from drinking and driving, and to ensure that those who violate such a law would face severe penalties.
Her comments came as she maintained that it is also imperative that compulsory alcohol testing be performed on all persons involved in serious and fatal road traffic accidents. (JRT)