Monday, November 18, 2013

PM's message for World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Today, let us all take a moment to remember those who have lost their lives or suffered injury on the roads as we join the international community in observing World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

My heart goes out to those families and friends who have lost loved ones in road fatalities. Coping with such losses is never an easy task and you continue to do so with such quiet strength. Most recently, I was very disheartened to learn of last weekend’s tragedy, the lives of six bright lights were extinguished in less than four hours. May God comfort you as you go through this very difficult period.

I applaud the efforts of persons who have managed to help others cope with their grief despite their own losses. A shining example of such courage is Ms. Desiree Waddel. Ms. Waddel, founder of ‘God’s Chosen Children’, has become an integral source of strength and support to many even as she copes with the tragic loss of her twin girls, Khertima and Khadijah Taylor.

I urge you, like Ms. Waddel urged her daughters, to remain vigilant while travelling along the nation’s roads. Over the last decade, Trinidad and Tobago has recorded over 30 thousand road collisions of varying degrees of severity which translates to one accident every 17 minutes. Over the past ten years, approximately 200 lives have been lost to road fatalities and our young people are becoming increasingly at risk. We must not allow this to continue.

I wish to remind you today of the fragility of human life and our duty to protect it. We must all, drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians alike, practise greater care and awareness. We must eliminate dangerous behaviours which place the lives of many at risk. These include excessive speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while physically exhausted or emotionally distracted. Additionally, avoid activities such as eating, sending text messages and engaging in telephone conversations while driving.

We must always strive to adhere to the nation’s traffic laws and be considerate to others who are also in transit. As motorists, we can all easily employ responsible strategies such as designating a driver and pulling aside into the shoulder lane to make or receive telephone calls. Pedestrians, I implore you to make good use of zebra crossings and walk­overs and to take particular care in places where there are none, particularly at night.

The government of Trinidad and Tobago remains committed to reducing the number of vehicular accidents on our roads. Along with increased highway patrols and the implementation of random breathalyser tests, our many initiatives include the appointment of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC). The primary mandate of the NRSC is the development of the Road Injury and Prevention Policy for Trinidad and Tobago. It is also the overarching body for coordination with inter­agency and multi­sector stakeholders with a shared goal for reducing traffic related incidents.

However, we cannot do it alone, we need your cooperation.Therefore, I am pleading to each and every one of you to be more cautious on the nation’s roads and comply with the laws of this country. Together we can put an end to these tragedies and protect the lives of our own..

Let us all strive towards making our roads a safer place; they are routes, not final destinations.

The Honourable Kamla Persad­Bissessar,
Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai