BRSA President Sharmane Roland Bowen slams police over call for “Road Safety Czar”
Accident Victim’s Aunt blames Royal Barbados Police Force for failing in their duty
“This is a tragedy that should not have happened. How many more of our people going to lose their lives before the law enforcement exercise their duty?” … June Straughn, aunt of 17 year old Rossi Straughn – killed while riding in the open back of a truck.
A few days ago Police Inspector Leon Blades, the officer in charge of Traffic Division, admitted to selectively not enforcing a part of the traffic law that just resulted in the needless death of a young man. During the same interview the Inspector called for the establishment of a “Road Safety Czar”.
Barbados Free Press covered the story and said “included in those who aren’t taking road safety seriously enough are members of the Royal Barbados Police Force who fail to enforce the Road Traffic Act.” (Read our previous story Fatal Traffic Accidents: Police admit not doing their job.)
Today the President of the Barbados Road Safety Association also strongly responded to Inspector Blades’ interview – basically telling Blades and his officers to stop whining, and to enforce the traffic laws and show some leadership. Whew!
“A road Safety Czar is not the answer to the problems relating to fatalities and serious accidents that Barbados is experiencing on the roads. What is the Police trying to say? Are they looking for someone to do their jobs for them or are they trying to shift the blame?”
Sharmane Roland Bowen, President of The Barbados Road Safety Association quoted in the Barbados Advocate article No need for road safety czar, says Road Safety Association
No kidding! Good for Sharmane, whose organisation unfortunately must spend about 50% of their effort telling our police to just bloody well do their jobs.
There are many changes that could be made to the laws, and we certainly need breathalyzer legislation and equipment – but if the police would aggressively and consistently enforce the existing traffic laws they could calm down drivers and save some lives.
Victim’s Aunt blames Royal Barbados Police Force for failing in their duty
“First and foremost I will like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who sent their condolences to the family of Rossi Straughn that lost his life in an unwanted accident. This is a tragedy that should not have happened. How many more of our people going to lose their lives before the law enforcement exercise their duty? Is Barbados still behind time in this civilized era? Oh my belovest country we should join hands together to educate our people specifically those that seat behind the steering because life could be snatched in a second due to Human errors. Please join me in mourning the lost of a promising young man that has so many potential to be the child of this nation. I do hope we learnt a very good lesson from this tragedy.
With my respect and deep regret I sent this message to our friends and family for the lost of my nephew.
The sad truth is that had Inspector Blades and his officers enforced the law that prohibits riders from the back of open vehicles, 17-year-old *Rossi Straughn would still be alive and his family and friends would not be grieving.
Rossi Straughn’s death falls squarely upon the shoulders of Inspector Blades and his officers.
Here is the newspaper article with Sharmane Roland Bowen’s comments about the police.
You should click on the title link and read the complete article at the Barbados Advocate, but we’ll reprint the whole story here because the Barbados Advocate often revises history by deleting past articles to suit changing political agendas.
THE Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) has expressed its view that the call for a Road Safety Czar by the Police is unwarranted.
“A road Safety Czar is not the answer to the problems relating to fatalities and serious accidents that Barbados is experiencing on the roads. What is the Police trying to say? Are they looking for someone to do their jobs for them or are they trying to shift the blame?” says Sharmane Roland Bowen, President of The Barbados Road Safety Association.
The Minister of Transport and Works recently outlined the plans for the establishment of a ‘National Road Safety Council’ which would be mandated to implement a national road safety action plan with new initiatives that will entail working committees to deal with various aspects of road safety.
“The Royal Barbados Police Force needs to make their presence felt on our roads every day and to enforce the traffic laws. It seems that they are just targeting the PSVs but they need to concentrate their efforts on the entire road network. Not one PSV was involved in a road fatality this year”.
The Barbados Road Safety Association is calling for the police to conduct more vehicle checks along with the officers of the Ministry of Transport and works to get illegal and unsafe vehicles off our roads.
The BRSA believes that legislation dealing with traffic offences with sentences that fit the gravity of the offence, a fixed penalty system that deals with the speedy adjudication of violations coupled with the Demerit Point system to single out and take repeated traffic offenders off our roads would assist in dealing with many of our problems.
Such can only be achieved through rigid and extensive enforcement by tightening the noose on reckless and hostile motorists through a set of deterrent measures and aggressive traffic enforcement by the police.
Most accidents are attributed to driver error which many times are caused by drivers committing traffic offences that are too often undetected. Drivers need to be sent a clear message that this country would not sit back and allow them to control our roads and no czar can do this.
With law enforcement in place, progress would then be achieved when all stake holders in road safety learn to work together. It is only then that we would be on ‘the road to safety’. (PR)
(Photos courtesy of The Nation)
* The Nation initially spelled the victim’s name “Roosi Straughn” but his aunt wrote “Rossi Straughn”. Barbados Free Press would appreciate confirmation of the correct spelling. Thank you.