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Junction a death trap

There are so many things to be proud of in beautiful Barbados. Our beaches, standard of living, system of education, political stability and indeed our reputation, are but a few of the things that make us proud.

It is natural that there will be aspects of our being Bajan that cause us concern. Things like unemployment, inflation, rising crime are but a few of these. It’s encouraging to know that issues as grave as these occupy the constant attention of our Government and its officials. Thus I am heartened.

I appreciate the fact that these issues are profound and that, in spite of what many may think, there are no simple solutions to these problems which have affected nations around the globe for decades.

The global recession has brought severe pressure to economies such as ours and we must therefore manage limited financial resources with great skill and prudence.

However, there are some issues that must be labelled “critical” and must always receive urgent attention – never being placed on the back burner. Things that can bring harm, injury, loss of life and limb to ordinary hardworking taxpayers of this island must be viewed with the seriousness and treated with the alacrity that we would expect, and to say the very least which we deserve, and will demand.

One such critical matter is dealing with the death trap at the four cross junction near Mangrove in St. Philip.

At around 10:45 p.m. on Sunday August 19 I received a call advising that my wife was involved in a serious vehicular accident at the junction near Mangrove Bus Depot, St Philip while on her way from work. I was nearby and rushed to the scene along with my son, cousin and two friends.

Luckily she did not sustain grave injuries but the other driver did.

What was most interestingly disturbing for me was the number of comments about the volume and severity of accidents which occur at this place. Indeed one nearby resident said that she had the misfortune of seeing a female involved in a fatal accident there a few short weeks ago.

Most people at the scene, particularly residents of the area, recalled the horror stories associated with traversing that junction.

It is also my understanding that numerous appeals to authorities have resulted in only “a lotta long talk”.

I tried to contact MP and Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite to find out whether he was aware of the threat and risks facing motorists using this ill-fated stretch of roadway. I noticed a missed call from him to which I have not yet responded.

Please don’t tell me about funds or rather about lack of funds.

We find funds to do important things when we must do important things. If you tell me that there are insufficient funds to do something to prevent further loss of life and limb to road tax paying users of the public highway I will extrapolate that this is not important.

Make the solution effective, affordable and rapid. Stop signs all around cannot cost $600,000 to look into it. I am hopeful that traffic lights may even cost less.

I just got a wife after 49 years and ccident at Mangrove Junction.

I have spoken to 73 people since then who have either been involved in accidents there or have had very close calls. However, I have been unable to speak to some whose stories might force the relevant authorities into action. Unfortunately their voices have been eternally silenced because they have died as a result of accidents there.

It cannot get more serious than that!

We hired politicians to represent the interests of the people as Members of Parliament. These interests include the safety, health and well being of the populace.

In my estimation, allowing this unfortunate situation to continue represents a breach of contract. There has been much banter about service excellence, productivity and performance-based assessments. I am all in favour of that across the spectrum. If those hired to produce do not to the satisfaction of those for whom they work, their contract should be reviewed and if needs be, terminated. In modern Bajan parlance – straight!

I hope no one will misconstrue that as a threat. It’s merely a fact.

We need action, bold, decisive and swift in order to correct the problem. As John King so aptly coined it in song: “How many more must die?”

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