Time for action To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
February 11, 2002

At the time of writing the entirely ill advised and inane anti-government campaign of the "boom-boom box" extremists has more or less been called off.

It is somewhat ironical that the mini-bus strikers commenced their action during the very period when Andrew Murray, one of Guyana's leading boxing and sports personalities had died in a chilling, sobering and also ultra-tragic roadway mishap.

If we were to learn from Murray's death we must be that much more aware of automated as well as temperature change variations on given stretches of tarmac. It is not sufficient to reiterate what a committed figure he was to boxing as a social activity and business.

The fact of the matter is that the early Sunday death of January 27 last, should not have occurred.

Modern Saloon Reconditioned Speed Murray was driving a Japanese manufactured Carina reconditioned with a capacity 1400.98 (or 1500) c.c. Similar to the new vehicles of this engine thrust Murray's car would have been capable of an Acceleration Rate (AR) of 0-60 miles per hour (mph) in just under 15 seconds. This is more rapid that a Light Cessna aircraft reviving to become airborne.

The perils of line sight and line of center (or multiple lane) visibility and its opposite whenever mist accompanies sleet or heavy rain on the Soesdyke surface are not uncommon to most tropical zone countries.

Wherever torrential deluges of cloudburst rain impacts on the environment these two related factors of positioning and line of control movement can be transformed within a matter of less than fifteen or event ten minutes.

And it matters little whether one is journeying before or during the hours of darkness.

Murray according to all the reports was not driving slowly. Did he at the time have his car radio or cassette player on? One of his fellow boxers interviewed at the National Sports Hall `wake' claimed that "the car was more damaged than Andrew. All Murray had as injuries was a cut on his head otherwise he was all right.." other witnesses including those who accompanied him to the McKenzie Hospital said that he "was bleeding heavily".

Both of these versions cannot be correct at the same time. But what is true is that there are sections of Guyanese who would prefer to believe that Murray was not seriously and mortally wounded.

The dangers of Sub-Aquatic Obstacles

After motoring from the Linden turn in pouring rain, Murray would have been travelling for at least part of the northbound journey at times alongside virtually sheet rainstorm conditions.

Also wherever there were broken or interrupted sections of the asphalted roadway, the vehicle would respond differently in terms of the stress on his rear axle and most of all his front and rear thread (or tyres).

All of this coupled with the fact that the automated saloon vehicle does tend to convey to drivers that all is well when the very opposite is the case given the intrusion of what are temporary and sharp climacteric conditions.

Even if the mesh that protects the drainage pipefittings at the Kairuni Bridge were not affected by solid matter and particles there would still have been a 1:2 water accumulation at the 1:2 incline convex. Whatever the level of the water, Murray apparently must have panicked coming off his gas pedal and applied the car's brakes. The only alternative that has been tested for fast moving craft in this kind of situation is to allow for the process of hydro-planning to scale down and halt the vehicle's movement either forward or laterally.

Writing just under a fortnight prior to Murray's accident, Mr Norman McLean warns against the great irreparable losses inflicted on Guyana and the population at large by fatal and not so fatal road accidents. He issues a call for more road discipline and education.

"If this carnage does not stop, we will pay the price and we are doing so already", he observes.

It is time for action now. There should be a regional education programme put in place where traffic regulations that are of significance to the school population can be expounded. Additionally in each municipality there should be display boards that are prominent and not obscured by foliage that clearly indicate trends in road accidents. This was the practice in certain parts of the country years ago.

But even after all this, it is the collective will and efforts of the most conscious sections of Guyanese that will be required to ensure safety and highway security in this country. The government for all its best efforts can only provide resources and show the way by example.