The Guyana Police Force’s “Operation Safeway” has been regarded as a success by President David Granger, even as fatal accidents and incidents of persons driving under the influence continue to increase.
Over the past few days, the number of road fatalities recorded has been alarming and points to the level of recklessness occurring on the roadways.
But President Granger debunked claims that road crimes were escalating, noting that “Operation Safeway” resulted in a reduction in road accidents.
“The rate of fatal accidents since Safeway was launched to now … saw a reduction…As part of “Operation Safeway”, there is a more stringent enforcement of people driving under the influence,” he stated during his weekly televised “The Public Interest” programme.
For the period September 15 to October 16, 2016, Traffic Chief, Superintendent Jairam Ramlakhan had reported a 36.3 per cent reduction in fatal accidents compared to the same period last year. He said a total of 6421 charges have been made against drivers for various traffic offences since the inception of “Operation Safeway”.
Nonetheless, there are concerns that “Operation Safeway” is not addressing the root causes of the road problems, including the inconsiderate behaviour of drivers who refuse to stop for pedestrians to cross the roads at pedestrian crossings.
Not too long ago, CCTV footage of two children getting struck down by a truck as they attempted to cross the busy road at Eccles, East Bank Demerara (EBD) went viral, sending shockwaves throughout the nation.
Although the children stood at the crossing – signalling their desire to get to the other side of the road – for quite a number of minutes, the vehicles on the highway sped by.
Luckily for the children, though they were ran over by a truck, they survived.
The past few days have recorded a distressing number of road fatalities, including those of children.
Two men also died tragically on Sunday evening when a motorcyclist collided with a pedestrian on the Rupert Craig Highway.
The motorcyclist was reportedly speeding when he collided with the pedestrian, who was allegedly under the influence.
In a separate incident at Lima Sands on the Essequibo Coast, a 49-year-old driver was arrested and was now assisting with investigations after the tractor he was driving ran over a five-year-old girl, who died instantly.
On Friday evening, a carpenter was struck down by a motor car while crossing the public road at Houston, Greater Georgetown. The carpenter, Ryan Ragubir, was walking behind two work colleagues who were also crossing the road at the time the car knocked him down.
Also on Friday, Dr Haimant Haimraj, 26, died at the Suddie Public Hospital, Essequibo Coast, after he reportedly lost control of the motorcycle he was riding and crashed into a fence.
According to investigations, speeding has been attributed as the cause of the accident which occurred about 17:45h on the Vilvorden Public Road, Essequibo Coast.
On Thursday, an 11-year-old student, Simon Kendall, of Tagore Memorial Secondary School in Berbice, was struck down in front of his home at Number 46 Village, Corentyne, by a car driven by a driver whose licence was suspended.
Also on Thursday, a young man who was en route to visit his grandmother at a city hospital collided with a minibus, whose driver was reported to be under the influence. The young man, who sustained a punctured lung, is now battling for his life.
Finally, last Tuesday, a 14-year-old boy, Mark McCoy, died instantly after he was struck down by a minibus. Reports indicate that the child rode his bike into the path of the minibus in the vicinity of Diamond, EBD.