“For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them” – Sir Thomas More
I watch with growing concern at the frequency of fatal accidents which occur daily, the replay of domestic abuse with weary constancy and the robbery of the average citizen who is eking out a modest living for himself and family.
I watch daily as innocent children approach pedestrian crossings, tentatively and with trepidation as vehicles bear down on them oblivious to their existence and with such speed that it’s impossible to brake at such crossings. I have always been taught that liken to the pedal cyclists, children are to be likened to cockroaches crossing the road. They will dart across the road with innocent recklessness and it’s up to us, the mature and logical thinking adults, to protect them by being vigilant drivers at all times.
On our new 4-lane roads on the East Coast Demerara, one would think that the road contractors would have seen it fit to place a greater number of barricades along the roadway or close a lane or two until construction was completed in a manner which would alleviate the wanton reckless manner of driving.
Every morning and every afternoon, depending on whether there is police presence, the average driver would create 3 to 4 lanes ‘boring’ into imaginary lanes mere inches from each other only to create bottlenecks with the inevitable cussing contests which follow and dented fenders.
How many of us have been oblivious to the sirens that are almost inaudible until the emergency vehicle (ambulance, fire or police patrol) is within two car lengths of us? Shouldn’t there be a law against such sirens which barely warn the average driver whose windows are likely to be closed given these hot days? Is the siren’s volume not fixed, say 110 decibels? How is it that the police patrol which leads the Lusignan Prison van every morning and every afternoon can be heard from such a great distance but others seem muted?
What would possess those who erect traffic signs to design a 3-way traffic light for a 2-way road? Check the intersection of the road at Turkeyen leading towards the University of Guyana. Note the signalling to turn left to progress towards Industry and the one to turn left towards the seawall/Rupert Craig Highway. Drivers, who, I assume to be insane, would honk relentlessly to request the driver in the vehicle ahead to give way when, in fact, the driver ahead is progressing in a straight line and the light is red for him. It gives way to anger and frustration when in essence, it’s a design flaw that has remained intact for over 3 years.
Why did it take so long for the Guyana Police Force’s Department Officer to respond to the emergence of multiple vehicles which have the blue headlights? Why would Auto Parts vendors import these blue bulbs if they were not in demand? It was a growing nuisance for over 2 years, yet the police roam the roadways every night.
It is important that those who are the custodians of enforcing the law act promptly in such matters as, given our environment, it would have escalated into normalcy very quickly as it did.
Many of the domestic abuse challenges can be resolved if it is made compulsory for the couples to attend counselling sessions frequently or face jail time. The level of death within our homes warrants simple, tried and tested approaches. The churches, school principals and wise, mature community members may be called upon to assist.
A massive one-week police traffic campaign on the major roads may impact positively on the drivers’ manner of using our roads. By warning drivers on the first day and then penalising them thereafter, it would help to curb the madness on the roadways. Economic punishment is a simple and effective deterrent.
Parents and community members should use their cell phones to video the vehicles which are in breach of traffic laws such as not stopping at pedestrian crossings and have them texted via SMS or WhatsApp to the nearest police station. We are our brothers’ keepers. The Guyana Police Force has to update their arsenal of resources such as fully utilising the digital networks and drone systems if necessary and I believe that drones are a probable solution in the fight against crime. Closed Caption Television (CCTV) cameras must be used as in the UK.
Mail or email tickets and screenshots of traffic infractions to drivers giving clarity of vehicle registration numbers and recognition of drivers who are in breach of the laws.
If the Guyana Defence Force has to be called out to assist the Police Force then so be it. It worked in Barbados for a while until both agencies of the Government got on each other’s nerves. However, it resulted in a substantial reduction in criminal activities.
Manners maketh man is an old Proverb. Let us enforce teachings of deportment, manners, etiquette et al and mentor our children from nursery through the primary and secondary levels and prepare them for being the best citizens.