Prioritise proposal dealing with the issue of drivers' licences
Stabroek News
March 15, 2002

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an open letter to the Mothers in Black

Dear Mothers In Black,

As I along with hundreds of other Guyanese and non Guyanese watch you week after week doing your thing (vigil) outside Parliament Building and occasionally outside the President's Office, I marvel at your resoluteness, your persistence and your seemingly total commitment to your task, and I say to myself "this is the stuff that is the prerequisite for nation building.

However, there is a saying "Too much of one thing etc, having stuck to your task whose objectives, I believe, are:

i) to emphasise the grief and anger of hundreds of parents, relatives and friends of the victims of this seemingly unstoppable carnage on our roads.

ii) To motivate what appears to be extremely deaf and blind but never speechless political appointees at the Ministry to wake up and do something.

I happen to know that your crusade started long before the appearance of "Mothers In Black" on the street. I also know of the tremendous amount of research and meetings with other groups and individuals in and out of the country, to help your group along with the Police to present a substantive list of recommendations to revise and hopefully improve our traffic laws. I am also aware of the culture of disconnection between words and action that is far too prevalent when dealing with this administration. This brings me to the main purpose of this letter.

In spite of your mental and physical steadfastness; in spite of the volume of evidence gathered and presented, and in spite of the dozens of meetings (talk shops) you've had with the Police Commissioner, the Home Affairs Minister and their respective assistants, you even had meetings with President Jagdeo, all this over a period of four years! And what have you achieved so far? Promises, promises and more promises interlaced with a fair dose of "sand dancing"! This indicates to me that there are some influential people inside and outside of government who, to satisfy their own ends would prefer to let the traffic laws remain as they are, so failing to address one of, if not the greatest dilemmas facing this country, to wit, the permanent destruction of the country's most valued resources its people, especially our young people! Is this not another case of "Nero fiddles while Rome burns".

In the meantime the road carnage continues, your group gets larger, the cemetery get more inhabitants. I think ladies, it's time for a change of strategy don't you?

Without disclosing too much at this point in time, I would like to recommend the following:

a) Continue your weekly vigil agitating for revision of traffic laws, broken promises etc.

b) Prioritise proposal with revised conditions for the issuance of driving licence. This proposal must also include:

i) Automatic withholding of driving licence by the police provided there is enough evidence to implicate the driver(s) as the perpetrator of a serious traffic accident or offence.

ii) Licence to be returned only after being successfully retested at his/her expense and provided the court instructs other action.

I feel very strongly that making it tougher to get and retain a driver's licence could make a big difference to the mindset of so many "drivers". (In the USA even your vehicles could be confiscated, for God's sake!)

c) Organise a public Panel Discussion inviting heads of organisations/agencies and public personalities sympathetic to your cause to take part.

The bottom line is,

Driver must

Respect other road users

Obey Traffic Laws, or

Pay the consequences.

DROP in road accidents

I promise to disclose other recommendations at this panel discussion if and when it takes place? Incidentally 8th March was International Women's Day. I take this opportunity to congratulate you all on your accomplishments and remind you that you have a bigger part to play in your ailing country. So in the words of my Rasta friends Big Up Ladies" lets make this "Women's Year"!

God bless you all.

Yours faithfully,

A Luta Continua

Father in waiting (name and address supplied)