Clearing the corners Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
July 15, 2004

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NOT so long ago, commuters and others in vehicles risked life and limb in moving along the main roads in Buxton and other danger spots along the East Coast Demerara.

They were regularly attacked and robbed by bands of gunmen and several persons were killed in those dark days when brigands had the upper hand.

That situation has thankfully been resolved and travel through that area is no longer such a daunting exercise.

Itís not all honky dory on the highways and byways around the country though as two men in a fuel truck on the main road in Providence, East Bank Berbice, found out Tuesday morning.

Police said two masked gunmen attacked and robbed them after the driver slowed on a bad stretch of the road.

The gunmen jumped on either side of the cabin after the vehicle slowed and robbed the driver and another man of $37,000 in cash.

One man in the truck was hit in the head with the butt of a gun and had to be treated at the New Amsterdam Hospital. Police said the bandits escaped on foot after the robbery.

That bad patch of road would probably be fixed under the multi-faceted and wide-ranging road repair and construction programme under way around the country but the Tuesday attack should trigger some form of short-term mending programme to reduce the kind of dangers the two unfortunate Berbicians were subjected to Tuesday morning.

Exasperatingly for drivers and others, those in charge of keeping roads, streets and other thoroughfares in shape, seem to prefer that little potholes and cracks be allowed to mature and grow into sometimes giant craters and yawning chasms before trying to fix them.

And when the repair programmes are finally undertaken, there can be delays and added frustrations.

There should be a year-round maintenance scheme that would take care of the little problems so that these are not allowed to compound the larger repair and construction projects when these are undertaken.

Now the Ministry of Public Works and Communications is renewing its campaign to remove several vendors from the corners of public roadways where their activities are deemed a potential traffic hazard.

Workers from the ministry Tuesday began targetting fruit vendors along Vlissengen Road, in the vicinity of Lamaha Street, Georgetown, but were only able to remove one who had been selling from a small truck and a makeshift stall.

The ministry and other authorities are within their rights to try to remove and reduce traffic hazards and it could be that the fruit vendors at that particular city junction pose some danger to motorists and others.

But are they priority targets in a renewed campaign against traffic hazards in the city and along main roads and streets in other parts of the coast?

Overgrown bush, derelict vehicles, garbage and mounds pose a far greater hazard at turns and corners on many roads along the coast and should also be targetted in any fresh crackdown against traffic hazards.

Fruit vendors, if they are in the way, could be asked to shift operations but they are not the chief culprits to be in the line of fire.