Stop the slaughter! To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
February 8, 2002

“STOP the slaughter!” is the cry being heard from all quarters in the wake of the current, tragic loss of lives on our roads. The wanton killing of fellow Guyanese by reckless and irresponsible drivers on the public highways has become the focal point for much discussion and debate in various circles.

The murder and mayhem spawned by the on-going epidemic of the mini-bus culture have been a source of great concern and worry, particularly for those who have been traumatised by the loss of their dear ones.

Incessant calls for the parties involved, mainly the mini-bus operators to cease the carnage have all fallen on deaf ears. This blow is delivered with even more telling effect when it takes its toll among our young folks including high school students, who are regarded not only as our most, precious resources, but pivotal in the context of poor, developing and under-populated countries, such as ours.

This manifestation of lawlessness menacing our roadways must not be tolerated or condoned. We join in applauding the Minister of Home Affairs Mr. Gajraj and the Police Traffic Department for combining forces and launching a countrywide campaign to apprehend and penalise the traffic violators. We and other concerned citizens are fully in support of the police crackdown on boom boxes installed in buses and receptive to appropriate music being played instead, intended to enhance the pleasure of the journey for passengers and their frame of mind.

Taking into account excessive speeding by the so-called road devils has been fingered as the leading cause for road deaths and painfully aware of the pressing need to save innocent lives, we strongly recommend the deployment of more traffic ranks to increase vigilance in accident-prone areas such as on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway, which just recently was the scene of a fatal accident involving the late Andrew Murray who brought Guyana world fame in the boxing arena.

Every effort must be made to obliterate the obnoxious practice of alcohol-influenced driving and the advent of breathalysers provided for in fast track legislation, recently announced by Minister Gajraj will undoubtedly go a far way in removing drunken drivers off the roads, who have been blamed for the every high, road fatality rate.

Concerned citizens are calling on the authorities to investigate certain insurance companies accused of contributing to the horrendous traffic accidents by insuring applicants without properly checking their competence to drive motor vehicles.

In the face of the reign of terror unleashed by the protesting mini-bus operators and their supporters and sympathisers, Mr. Gajraj and the Police Force must stand firm. We urge the Guyanese public to follow the laudable example set by the Consumers Movement of Guyana in boldly denouncing the intimidatory tactics of the protesters and acts of violence and wanton destruction and respond to the calls for support from Minister Gajraj and the Police with fierce backing.

President Jagdeo has aptly declared this “a public, safety issue.” The mini-bus and taxi operators must henceforth stop killing our workers, housewives and children in the mania on the roadways. Now is the most opportune time for public-spirited citizens to participate in traffic control and the Government to train and involve social organisations such as the Community Policing Groups, if the terror of the mini-bus culture is to be finally annihilated. Together with Minister Gajraj and the Traffic Department we must intensify the struggle. “Halt the abuse and anarchy on the roads,” must be our watchword.
Ameena Gafoor & C. Majeed