Safety First

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Choisuel/St. Lucia Tragedy: Lessons for Road View/Mullins and Barbados

St. Lucia and the larger Caribbean region have been plunged into mourning this weekend as a result of a tragic traffic accident last Thursday night which saw the loss of at least 16 (some reports claim as many as two dozen) precious lives.  This accident hits home for this blogger as the area where it happened was part of my old stomping ground when I worked in Soufriere, St. Lucia many years ago. My thoughts and prayers are with the families left behind. Now is the time for us in Barbados to stand with our brothers and sisters in St. Lucia in their hour of trial. Keep in mind also that just over a year ago this same general area of the country bore the brunt of Tropical Storm Tomas and is still in recovery mode. St. Lucia is our closest neighbour after St. Vincent, many St. Lucians call Barbados home, and many more, including their Nobel Laureates - Sir Arthur Lewis and Derek Walcott - are of Bajan descent. "But for the grace of God, there go [we]."

It can happen here and has happened here in Barbados - re: the Lancaster and Horse Hill disasters.  In reading some of the online comments by St. Lucians about this accident I am eerily reminded about what we are calling for in the Road View & Mullins Beach Road Safety Petition:

Makak Zel Gosh says:
November 11, 2011 at 7:55 am
Let me express my Condolonces to the grieving famalies during this tragedy.
During my visit to the island I noticed that the immediate vacinity of the road signs were continuing to be obstructed by tree branches, shrubs, bush etc..  The lack of reflectors when approaching Speed Bumps, for the locals this is not a problem but for returning Nationals and Tourists alike who are unaware of the location of those bumps creates a major problem at night.  St. Lucia needs to take road safety more seriously by maintaining and erecting road signs islandwide, not just in the Nothern part of the island.
Let us wake up and do things to international standards as opposed to mediocrity.

Jerry Johnson says:
November 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm
The majority of the transport drivers in St Lucia drive under the delusion they are Formula One drivers and rarely perform suspension repairs until after the fact and only replace tires when they are bald. It was only a matter of time before a driver in an overloaded van drove too fast for conditions.
My sincere sympathies to the families and a head’s up to the island’s department of transportation to perform more diligent preventative road maintenance and to the police to actually enforce the laws.

Accidents like this and the loss of life and the grief they cause are not inevitable; they are entirely preventable when we come together - governments and people - to eliminate the traffic issues and hazards that cause them.  The dangerous bends and lack of signage warning of them, lack of sidewalks, overgrown hedges, speeding buses, cars and trucks, and impaired driving all combine in our area to make another Choisuel disaster waiting to happen.  We had a close call last August 24 when several British tourists and one local were taken to hospital.  Let this be our wake-up call.  Sign the Road View & Mullins Beach Road Safety Petition and support the Barbados Road Safety Awareness efforts today.  The life you save could be your own.

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