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Carnage on the Streets: It's Not Normal
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2007

By Michael De Gale
June 12, 2007

Like the runaway crime situation, the carnage on the streets of T&T makes me wonder if anyone is in charge. Is there a ministry responsible for transportation or a police department responsible for road safety? If so, why are people being mangled daily and lives being lost unnecessarily, when tried and proven measures can be enforced to stop vehicular terrorism? How difficult is it to clamp down heavily on speedsters, inebriated and otherwise reckless drivers, street racers and all the madness that passes for driving in T&T? With the death toll in excess of 115 so far, these are no longer accidents; this is murder and should be prosecuted as such.

A license to drive is not a right, it's a privilege; one that should be taken away when drivers fail to exercise responsibility. The problem however, extends beyond irresponsible drivers; the ministry of transportation and the traffic police department must also be implicated for failing to perform effectively in their respective capacities. How many families must witness the mangled remains of loved ones splattered across the nation's roadways, while curious onlookers gawk and newspaper images rob the victims of what was left of their human dignity - prostituting journalism to create sensation and sell more newspapers? Enough already!

As a society we have become too accustomed to accepting mediocrity as normal. We fail to speak up and demand results from our politicians and other public officials. Consequently, anything goes even as it goes against the public's best interest.

Ah want to tell yuh dis. It is not normal nor is it marginally acceptable, except in countries beseeched by war, for people to be slaughtered in the streets on a daily basis whether by motorized vehicles or gunfire. It is not normal nor is it acceptable for children to die in hospitals due to negligence. It may be normal but it is not acceptable for the natural resources of any country to be exploited for the benefit of a few, when the majority of the population is in dire need of food, shelter and clothing. I prefer to believe that we live in a civilized society and certain things are simply not acceptable.

With regard to the carnage on the streets, I have some big ideas. How about taking away licenses, imposing stiff fines, implementing a demerit point system, jail for vehicular manslaughter and similar penalties for violating "the highway code" - if there was ever such a code? Perhaps denying insurance coverage or making premiums prohibitive for offenders will make them think twice before operating their vehicles. Oh damn! I thought that these were unique ideas; apparently these measures are routinely implemented with astounding success all over the world and are great deterrents to vehicular violence.

OK! How about this? I'm sure nobody has thought about this one before. How about holding government ministers accountable for failing to carry out their departments' mandate? If they can't get the job done - FIRE THEM! Now that's a novel idea.
Man! I must be really smart.

I wonder if dey go geh meh ah consulting contract to fix the problem. Uhhhhh.

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