Waiting and watching/Defending Peter

A Twitter friend (I love my virtual world) suggested in a tweet that a Road Rules Champion be appointed to push through road safety measures so desperately needed in Bermuda.

It’s not a bad idea from dave g, aka @bdatryangle, as a ‘Roads Tsar’ could help to cut through the political red tape and be responsible for drafting and implementing a road safety strategy agreed by all relevant parties.

He/she would have to be free of the shackles of the civil service and be in charge of a well-funded organization (task force?) drawing on the expertise of the various organisations that need to be involved.

Although the ‘Tsar’ would have to be answerable to the relevant Minister, he/she would give updates on the progress of the strategy only. He/she would be free to make the kind of tough decisions that make politicians queasy.

The ‘Tsar’ would be tasked to be objective and solution-driven. I do not know if this model exists elsewhere but it seems a sensible solution to a tragic situation.

302009-funny-cartoon

Why do I mention this now?

Apparently Shadow Transport Minister Lawrence Scott wants Parliament to be recalled to push through emergency legislation introducing tougher road safety laws.

He is quoted as saying: “I’m not trying to play politics. Lives are at stake, politics goes out the window.”

The problem is by raising it in this manner, he is playing politics with it. He is saying the PLP has some of the answers and Government needs to partner with it to push the measures through.

Also, you cannot overlook that deaths on our roads have been running at a consistently high level for many years. It did not start after December 2013. The PLP should acknowledge that and perhaps, at least, outline what legislation they passed regarding this issue.

I am quite sure Mr Scott is very well-intentioned, but it highlights that important issues such as this are prone to politricks and thus delay.

And speaking of delay, it was last March (six months ago) when Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell announced in the House of Assembly that he was going to seek approval from Cabinet to introduce roadside breath tests, to lower the blood-alcohol limit for driving and to install speed cameras.

He is quoted as saying: Everyone agrees that there is an urgent need for action.” He is also quoted as saying: “I would like to assure the public that we are exploring all options to address this major issue of impaired driving as well as the other road safety issues — speeding, driving dangerously without care, caution or consideration for others, and disregard for the rules of the road.

“The Ministry of Tourism Development and Transport recently completed exhaustive research on random sobriety testing and the latest technology for roadside testing. In the very near future the Cabinet will be discussing the options emanating from this research with a view to amending the relevant legislation in the fall.” (PS readers, that means when the House reconvenes in November.)

Perhaps the last words should go to CADA Chairman Anthony Santucci, who is quoted as saying: “I’m tired of hearing platitudes, condolences, sympathy, after accidents. How many people have to die? At what point are we going to say enough is enough?”

Indeed, when will it be enough?

We are waiting and watching.

PS Peter Woolcock’s cartoon today is blackly brilliant.

UPDATE: It seems Peter’s cartoon has upset some in the community. I know Peter and I know he would be mortified to hear that. He is a genuine Mr Nice Guy. The cartoon shows that the only people to benefit from recent behavior have been the Grim Reaper and the Devil. In a short, pointed and poignant cartoon he has conveyed the message that it is everyone else who suffers as a result of certain behavior/s.
The media has a crucial role to play in altering people’s opinions/behaviours and this is just one way of conveying a message.
As I said it is both pointed and poignant – therefore quite brilliant.
Keep up the good work Peter.

4 thoughts on “Waiting and watching/Defending Peter

Add yours

  1. “I’m tired of hearing platitudes, condolences, sympathy, after accidents. How many people have to die? At what point are we going to say enough is enough?”

    This is a shared sentiment among many. And yes, the previous administration paid merely lip service as well.

    I’m giving MP Scott the benefit of the doubt, as a newcomer to Parliament and someone I could believe is genuinely concerned and willing to get stuff done. As for the current Minister of Transport, he’s been in the post for some time now and ought to have been more proactive on this issue.

    But things needed to change a long time ago. Every week that passes is another batch of carnage on the roads.

  2. I haven’t seen the backlash to Mr Woolcock’s cartoon, but from all accounts and my own guesswork:
    (1) the cartoon was drawn and submitted before the death from the Kindley Field Road incident was known
    (2) everybody that’s talked about the cartoonist has poured nothing but admiration and affection
    (3) the message behind the cartoon was completely poignant. It managed to be simultaneously funny but serious.

    This week, we saw an image of a badly wrecked car in Sandy’s, and a little before that, an overturned car near Demco in Smith’s. We have enough images of violent collisions this year to drape a mural over the entire Cabinet building.

    I continue to do what I can to keep myself and especially my young son safe while commuting to and from work/daycare/home, but I cannot influence my fellow road user’s behaviour, and that’s a scary thought.

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