Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government remains committed to putting in place the necessary policies, infrastructure and systems to preserve the lives of Jamaicans on the nation’s roads.
“We have a vested interest in ensuring that we develop safe road practices in terms of public awareness, public education, legislative framework and our ability to enforce, and in terms of building out the infrastructure in the first place, to make it safe and convenient for road users,” Holness said.
The Prime Minister was addressing the first evaluation and planning meeting of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) for the year, at the Office of the Prime Minister, on Thursday (January 9).
With the continued increase in road fatalities, which stood at 435 in 2019, the Prime Minister said he is compelled to address road safety in his upcoming 2020/21 Budget presentation, when he is expected to outline the plans of the Government.
In the meantime, Holness, who is also Chairman of the NRSC, underscored that Jamaica is a committed and strong partner on global road-safety issues, sharing that “we have just now started to incorporate safe design in our roads”.
During the meeting, several representatives of public and private agencies and institutions provided statistical information and analysis regarding various aspects of road safety.
These included the Mona GeoInformatics Institute at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus; the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital; the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB); National Works Agency (NWA); Transport Authority (TA); and the Island Traffic Authority (ITA).
Overseas participants from the FIA Foundation and Towards Zero Foundation, which are UK-based charities, were also engaged in the meeting.
The NRSC was established in 1993 as a non-profit organisation by public- and private-sector interest groups. It is tasked with developing and implementing road safety promotional activities and conducting public education programmes. The council is also mandated to act as a lobby for the promotion of road safety.
Activities are undertaken with the overall aim of reducing the level of accidents and lowering the cost to society, both in terms of human suffering and financial cost.