Yet again, Guyana experienced another deadly weekend, with the country’s roads claiming at least five fatalities. Five persons, all of whom could have been working and assisting their families and perhaps helping in the development of their communities and country as a whole, are now dead. This is in addition to the dozens of persons who lost their lives during the course of the year due to some form of recklessness by drivers, or, in some cases, carelessness by pedestrians themselves.We are indeed convinced that the efforts being made by law enforcement and other authorities to reduce the alarming rate of road accidents are not achieving the desired results. The year 2017 will go down as yet another year when Guyana experienced some of the most horrific road accidents resulting in the loss of lives and injuries to countless others. We are very much concerned about the number of persons losing their lives on our roadways. Too many families have been broken as a result of losing a loved one due to road accidents, most of which could have been avoided.The reasons for the high rates of road accidents are well known, and there is no need to rehash them here except to say that while there are various factors which impact on road safety, there is little doubt that the single most important in a general sense is enforcement of the traffic laws. The Government has enacted the relevant legislation in relation to driving under the influence, loud music in vehicles, overloading, speeding, etc, but if the laws are not adequately implemented, they become useless. It would be interesting to find out how many of the drivers/conductors who are stopped for breaking a traffic law/s are actually charged and brought before the courts. It should also be mentioned here that in some cases, Police Officers themselves are engaged in breaking the traffic rules; eg, by speeding or driving under the influence and, hence, are the source of some of the accidents we currently experience.While it is not our intention to paint the entire Police Force with the same brush, as there are many professional and honest officers within the Force, we are convinced that unless what is perceived as the endemic corruption in the organisation, and the traffic section in particular, is addressed in a systematic way, we will not achieve the desired results.Further, in addition to enforcement of the traffic laws, there are several actions which could be taken immediately to reduce the number of road accidents here. To begin with, the authorities should start fixing all the potholes on our streets and highways which, no doubt, pose a serious threat to people’s lives.Additionally, the authorities should immediately start clearing the parapets and roadways of all encumbrances such as old, abandoned vehicles, tractor trailers, carts, etc, as these have been known to contribute to accidents. At the same time, tougher action should be taken against persons who are bent on encumbering the roadways.We had also made the point before that Guyanese need to move away from the culture of disregard and irresponsibility in relation to using the roadways. The Education Ministry and other relevant stakeholders should examine the possibility of strengthening the school’s curriculum with the aim of increasing knowledge, skills, and understanding among children and young people about the responsible use of our roadways. Similar efforts should also be made targeting the adult population as they too are sometimes found to be irresponsible when using our roadways.There seems to be no effective leadership, both from a political as well as an administrative/technical standpoint, to confront the challenge. We believe the time has come for all stakeholders to return to the drawing board and reexamine their approach to road accidents, since what currently obtains has failed the nation.For a small country such as ours, we cannot afford to continue along this path. The number of deaths and disabilities as a result of road accidents is indeed very worrying, and something must be done urgently to bring a halt to the level of irresponsibility and recklessness on our roadways.
NEW YORK – The United States pressed for a vote today on a Security Council resolution that would sanction North Korea for its nuclear test, but questions from China and Russia on Friday evening cast the timing and possibly the content of the document into doubt. The terms of the resolution have already been softened three times this week to meet objections from China and Russia, and earlier Friday there appeared to be agreement on holding a vote this morning. John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the new problems appeared “technical” rather than “substantial,” but said they would require another conference of Japan and the five permanent council members, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, today before the full 15 member panel would meet later in the day. While the wording of the resolution was still being worked out, U.S. intelligence officials said Friday evening they had found radioactive material in air samples taken over the region, providing more evidence that North Korea did indeed detonate a nuclear bomb. “An overwhelming majority of the council members want to vote as soon as possible,” Bolton said. “They still think it is important to send a swift and strong signal, and I’m confident we’re going to be able to do that.” Wang Guangya, the Chinese ambassador, said, “It all depends on the final text, because we are not at the final text yet.” The United States and Japan, the driving forces behind the resolution, had earlier thought they had surmounted the Chinese and Russian objections to the resolution when they submitted a revision Thursday night that softened some of the earlier provisions. Bolton said the United States was “very satisfied” with the document as it stood Friday morning and was prepared to vote for it immediately. But Wang, while asserting his country was happy with the progress that had been made, said his country was still studying the text before officially pronouncing on it. “With progress we are always satisfied, but if we work harder, we might make more progress,” he said. Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian ambassador said, “I think we are on the right track, but we are not there yet.” In Washington, officials, apparently confident of imminent passage of the measure, announced that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would travel to Asia next week to discuss how to implement the resolution, as well as to discuss other efforts to deter North Korean proliferation of a nuclear bomb or bomb-making materials. Sean McCormack, the State Department spokesman, said Rice would travel to Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing. The trip, he said, is “an opportunity for her in the region to reaffirm and talk about the strength of our existing alliances there, and also to have a bit more of a wider conversation with others in the region about the current situation, about the security situation, and also to talk broadly about nonproliferation efforts.” Senior State Department officials portrayed the U.N. momentum toward a resolution as evidence of a united, multilateral front agreeing to punish North Korea. “So the first issue we need to do is to make clear that the sense of outrage and condemnation by the international community to have a resolution in the Security Council, which will not only be a resolution condemning North Korea, but actually a resolution with some teeth to it,” said Christopher Hill, the assistant secretary of state for east Asia and Pacific affairs. “North Korea needs to understand that this is indeed a very, very costly decision that will leave North Korea far worse off and far more isolated than ever before,” said Hill, speaking at a conference in Washington. “We need to give that message very clearly and make sure that North Korea cannot find any differences in our views. So I think so far so good.” The resolution condemns the nuclear test claimed by North Korea on Oct. 9 as a “flagrant disregard” of Security Council warnings, orders it not to conduct nuclear or missile tests and urges North Korea to return to six-nations talks with South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States. It freezes funds overseas of people or businesses connected to the unconventional weapons programs and bans the sale of luxury goods to North Korea. “I think the North Korean population has been losing height and weight over the years,” Bolton said. “Maybe this will be a little diet for Kim Jong Il,” he said, referring to the North Korean dictator. Under the resolution, member states are to report to the Security Council within 30 days on steps they have taken to comply with its demands.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsThe new draft dropped or softened several provisions to placate China and Russia. It eliminated explicit mention of military enforcement of the sanctions; placed more limits on inspecting cargo going in and out of North Korea; and dropped a blanket embargo on conventional weapons. Bolton indicated one area of dispute remained the methods and legalities of how to inspect cargo moving into and out of North Korea, which the resolution is expected to authorize. The new draft resolution limits the weapons ban to large-size arms, military systems and weapons of mass destruction. The measure, drafted by the United States, still requires all countries to prevent the sale or transfer of material related to North Korea’s nuclear, ballistic missile and unconventional weapons programs and maintains a ban on travel by persons associated with those programs. It also bars North Korea from exporting such weapons, a provision aimed at the international concern over the possibility of unconventional arms from North Korea ending up with terrorist groups or rogue states. Kenzo Oshima, the Japanese ambassador and president of the Security Council, announced the council would gather at noon Saturday, but could not say whether they would vote.