Tuesday 20 October, 2020

Minister says previous government could have prevented road fatalities

Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Dr Hon William Duguid

Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Dr Hon William Duguid

Motorists and pedestrians who traverse the Ronald Mapp Highway by the Westmoreland junction can finally breathe a sigh of relief. After a number of fatalities and repeated calls for something to be done at the intersection, traffic lights are finally being installed in the area.

During a press briefing on Wednesday (July 8) Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Dr William Duguid declared that it would be “scandalous” to think that approximately $2 million worth of equipment had been in storage for more than two years instead of out saving lives.

He suggested that the previous administration would have the blood of all who perished at the intersection on their hands for their inaction.  

“I am sure some of the equipment was there over two years. I can’t tell you if all. But it would be scandalous to imagine that all of this equipment was there sitting down over two years and the last administration neglected to install it to protect people’s lives in this country, because then those people’s blood would be on their hands.

"We are going to investigate it and see if all of that equipment was there because if it was there sitting down in a warehouse and all that it meant was for the impetus to get up, design it and install it and they neglected to do it for stupid political reasons then I would be very disappointed,” the Minister said.

The installation of the traffic lights is part of a junction improvement programme Dr Duguid disclosed.

“We have looked at about 20 junctions and we have selected about five that can get improvements. You would have seen the one at the Garfield Sobers Roundabout. That was the first one. The second one is this at Westmoreland and we have a third one that will be coming through shortly and then we will be coming back with the fourth and fifth,” he said during the media briefing.

The project at the Ronald Mapp Highway-Westmoreland junction commenced almost four weeks ago and it is expected that the lights would be fully functional by next week.

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The juncture improvement project comes years after residents in the surrounding communities have pleaded for action after several road fatalities were recorded in that area.

Minister Duguid was happy that the traffic lights were being installed and was confident that the stoplights would help save lives.

"We are happy to be able to come and get these traffic lights installed as a matter of urgency because we cannot continue to have fatalities on our roads and those fatalities not being addressed. We cannot continue to have roads, drivers or vehicles that are dangerous," the Minister responsible for Transport, Works and Maintenance said. 

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