Tax them

Road safety activist wants consumer duty on alcohol during Crop Over season

With the Crop Over season underway, a local road safety advocate is suggesting that Government a consumer tax on alcoholic beverages.

President of the Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) Sharmane Roland-Bowen said such a tax would help reduce the incidence of drink driving during the three-month-long festive season, and would be in line with a similar duty on sweet drinks imposed by Government to help curb obesity.

“The soft drinks will kill the person who is using it but the alcohol will kill the person who is using it, along with other persons . . . that they come into contact with,” the BRSA president told Barbados TODAY.

Reiterating her point, Roland-Bowen said: “You can drink alcohol and come and crash and kill me, but you cannot drink a soft drink and get diabetes and kill me.”

The road safety advocate insisted that the ten per cent tax on soft drinks should be extended to liquor to deter consumers.

“You cannot tax one and not the next; you need to have it across the board. Do not have double standards.

“You want it, you pay more money and see if that would deter some persons from so freely purchasing and using alcohol as well, and it is also looking out for their health as well,” Roland-Bowen added.

With Barbados recording 15 road fatalities for the year so far, Roland-Bowen said she was fearful that the situation would get worse during the upcoming Crop Over season, and she appealed to promoters and bartenders to monitor their customers and ensure their safety as they enjoy mas.

“It is not all about making money, it is about your customers’ safety because the customer can be there drinking and drink too much and go and get killed . . . . When they [the bartenders] feel that they [drinkers] have had enough, stop them completely.”

She also suggested that promoters implement coin operated breathalyzer machines, while advising individuals to buy their own personal breathalyzers.

Roland-Bowen urged revellers to know their limits as they party during the coming months, as one drink could ruin lives.

“We want to make it perfectly clear that you do not have to get drunk to get into a collision. By drinking alcohol you don’t have to be drunk, you only have to be impaired. Alcohol, if you drink it, don’t get behind that wheel. Even if you drink one drink, don’t get behind that wheel.”

Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley had announced in March during debate on the 2017/2018 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure that there would be a “comprehensive overhaul” of legislation governing the transportation sector “hopefully in June”, that would result in better monitoring and inspection of road users and improved tax collection.

Roland-Bowen had earlier dismissed the assurance as “false promises” arguing that if Lashley were serious about bringing legislation by June, the necessary provisions, including breathalyzers, would have been in place.

The road safety advocate today reiterated her stance that the alcohol measuring devices were needed immediately.

“Seeing this season of all this feting and partying, we need the breathalyzer like now . . . we are still hearing that it is coming but we want to hear that it is here,” she insisted.

12 Responses to Tax them

  1. Patrina Drakes
    Patrina Drakes May 23, 2017 at 1:15 am

    Taxing alcohol will not stop people from drinking.

  2. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba May 23, 2017 at 3:26 am


  3. Ricardo Morris
    Ricardo Morris May 23, 2017 at 4:36 am

    Soooooooooooo alcohol is the only reason people hit cares wet road careless driving nothing so it is just alcohol he really ain’t had nothing better to talk about

  4. Sherlock Holmes. May 23, 2017 at 5:31 am

    For the longest time this lady has been linking accidents to the consumption of alcohol and it has me somewhat puzzled as i am yet to be convinced that this is a major factor in contributing to accidents.Since we do not have the means for such testing in place as yet where is the evidence to suggest such? We all know that driving under the influence of any mind altering substance is very dangerous even some cough remedies can impair one’s judgement but i am not convinced that this jumping on alcohol is the chief culprit. I am of the opinion that being inattentive whilst driving and excessive speeds are some of the main culprits contributing to many of the accidents we see happening on the roads. Yes we must pay attention to the reckless consumption of alcohol and those who may want to operate a motor vehicle having been engaged in it’s consumption but in my opinion i do not think that the majority of accidents can be linked to alcohol use the evidence to support this must be presented.

  5. Louis Swann
    Louis Swann May 23, 2017 at 5:33 am

    How bout we taxing 18 persons for incompetence

  6. Mike May 23, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I really don’t think carrying up the price on alcohol will deter persons from drinking. Drinking is a social norm and don’t care what price it is increased to people will still drink once it is available. It has to do with being responsible. I know my limit and would not go beyond that. I have a responsibility to my self, family and other road users and when I hit my limit which I know I am still in control. Can’t speak for everyone

  7. Peter Thompson May 23, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Mike, research has shown that your reaction time and judgement are both impaired before a person feels the effect of alcohol subjectively. What makes you think you are an exception to this rule?

  8. H.Gijsbers May 23, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Since quite sometime I read the articles of this lady.
    It is always about punishment, fines, tickets.
    This woman should be a politician.
    I thought it is about road safety and not about making money for government??!!
    It seems to me that in every 3 accidents 2 times there is a ZR or a bus involved ??
    What about their road behaviour??
    It is all about behaviour, so educate the bajan drivers , not to stop wherever the want,to talk with somebody.
    Teach them zipper driving , especially on the roundabouts.
    Teach them there are more cars on the road, drivers need to adapt.
    If you want to go to the right, donot wait on the left side to go right ,so people can pass u.
    Aso Aso
    It is proven that fining is not a real solution , unless one wants to make money collecting fines!!

  9. Observer May 24, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Why these people believe that taxing persons will act as deterent. Dont think there even understand the issues. Just talking cauae their got a mouth. What research have their done to come up with this answer. So silly. Stupseeeee. Folly. Can’t go after the merchants so tax the buyer. Same as soft drink and plastic suggestion . So if i am willing to3 pay for a bag how would that stop the problem. Get rid of the bags. Simple. We need some real jthinkers in this place.

  10. Observer May 24, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Da really got a tax fever in this country. How does taxing every thing deter people. Da want some real thinkers in this place. Just looking for easy answers. Stupseee so silly.

  11. syrupy May 25, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    So all do road death is cause of drunk driving i dont thinks so cause none of the people have been charge.Take alchol high wouldnt stop people from drinking,one thing people would pay money for is drinks n smokes after along weeks work


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