It was just a few days ago I was tuned in to one of my favourite local talkshows Honestly Speaking on the radio station ZBVI, hosted by a famous and well-renowned Social Commentator Pastor Claude Skelton Cline.
I am always keen to applaud his efforts to address the issues that exist in our community and his attempts to offer or seek solutions are unwavering. His favourite words always resonate with me, “be the hope that you are looking for, be compassionate and seek understanding”.
Although controversial at times, I am convinced that at all levels the good gentleman means well and he must be commended. He was fiercely addressing the issue of road safety which, of course, has several elements.
He has always been an advocate for a permanent ban on scooters in the territory and that is debatable. However, recently temporary restriction on the use of motor scooters and motorcycles between the hours of 5 pm and 5 am has been lifted.
‘Right–hand drive vehicles should be banned in BVI’ — Skelton Cline
While he continued his campaign for road safety, he expressed his personal opinion and I quote: “These people who drive these right-hand drive (RHD) vehicles cannot drive on the left-hand side of the street … they are always in the middle of the road … I want to call on the Minister of the subject Minister Kye Rhymer and our Premier to bring forward the legislation that bans these vehicles, that bans any more importation of these vehicles into our territory. They are creating a havoc.”
He further lamented about the environmental safety concerns and also road safety concerns associated specifically with the right-hand drive vehicles on the territory’s roads.
Indeed, I can agree that there has been an increase in the number of right-hand vehicles in the BVI. Hence, I cannot ignore the concern expressed about the carbon emission issues. But I cannot hesitate to disagree with the issue expressed about road safety, as the host should have been mindful to realise that the much-appreciated left-hand drive vehicle which he, and most taxi drivers and the majority of the populace drives, is much need for concern.
I would be delighted if the host can produce some statistical argument to indicate that when an accident occurs, the driver of the RHD vehicle is at fault or the cause of the accident.
Left-hand vehicles cause passengers disembark in the road
I am only trying to provoke the discussion. What the host stopped short of saying that our school children and passengers when they commute are severely exposed and vulnerable to the brunt of the heavy traffic that traverse our roadways.
This is simply because his preferred left-hand vehicle gives our students no alternative but to disembark on the right side of the vehicle which gives them maximum exposure to the flowing traffic, which is a huge risk.
Host, please consider this in your advocacy as I am only trying to provoke the discussion. The road safety concerns of the host should have been the advocacy for the improvement of the poor and deplorable condition of our roadways. Maybe it has been a while since he traversed our roadways especially if he took a trip to one of the business houses in the east that sponsors his show.
Potholes are the real problem
The craters in the road cannot be avoided whether you drive the Ridge Road or the coastline to the east. It has now reached to an agonizingly unacceptable level and the road safety issue in this respect was not voiced by the host.
Did he ever pause to consider that some of these drivers that he is accusing cannot drive on the left side of the road are concerned about the fate of their vehicle should they suddenly descend into these unavoidable craters.
Host, consider this in your advocacy that the deplorable road surfaces are posing a threat to road safety. Let’s have a discussion. I am still mindful of the road safety concerns with the RHD vehicles expressed by the host but I find it quite amusing that a call is being made for the ban of RHD vehicles. But did the host have a look at the vehicle stock at the Governor’s office?
Check the governor’s office
I think he would be rather amused to find an RHD vehicle which was purchased from the public purse. So, host, are we gonna ban this one as well? I leave that for your consideration because I am only trying to provoke the discussion.
Host, may I invite you to be the voice of the voiceless, and not apparently the thorn in the flesh. The reality on the ground is that the issue of road safety is a vast topic and a ban on RHD vehicles does not change the deplorable conditions of the roads. And once these conditions remains, persons will be driving in a mode to avoid the unavoidable craters in the road.
Banning RHD vehicles won’t bring financial ease to families
Host, the voice of the voiceless, have you considered that a ban on these vehicles will not bring any ease on families that are already facing difficult times? A ban on RHD vehicles will impose some measure of financial strain on individuals as persons in these difficult times will purchase what they can afford.
I think the host needs to take an approach which has the backing with the statistics and consideration and compassion for all levels of society.
Let’s have a discussion.
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