I.T. Transport Limited (UK) and SRKN’gineering (Guyana) have been appointed by the Government of Guyana to provide Consultancy Services to design a national Road Safety Diagnostic and Action Plan for Guyana (2022-2026), which is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank. The plan will specifically diagnose and analyse the overall road safety situation, identify key risks, opportunities and entry points for improvements, and prepare an action plan of activities and investments to be financed and implemented, in order to reduce the number of road casualties and fatalities over time. With the WHO estimating a casualty rating of 24.6 deaths per 100,000 people, Guyana has the 5th highest rate in the Caribbean region, representing both a major challenge and a major opportunity to positively impact the casualty reduction statistics.
The project was officially launched at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown on the 19th of May, 2023, to coincide with the 7th UN Road Safety Week. Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, said, emphasis must be placed on persons having consideration for each other on the roadways. Furthermore, he emphasised that administrators need to be stern in addressing the issue of road safety.
Minister Benn lamented, “We can’t do this job with a limp wrist; we have to be stronger in the way we deal with the issues of enforcement; we have to be stronger with how we respond to the risks that are on the roads, the quality of roads and bridges, the questions of congestion in the city and on the roadways; as well as the casual lawbreaking in our country on the use of the roads.”.
Meanwhile, The Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, said that, in promoting road safety, Guyanese must develop a safety culture that goes beyond considering road safety in isolation. This means that, in every aspect of life, people should exercise consideration for each other and utilise best practices to reduce the risk of accidents. “We still have men casting concrete in slippers, electricians climbing poles without safety belts, and people working on roadways without safety belts that are properly illuminated. We can’t just talk about what’s happening on the roads when we talk about behavioural change. We need a new culture of safety, not just safety on our roads. We have to have a new look at life and start valuing what is important,” the Minister emphasized.
The Project Team Leader, Mr Andy McLoughlin, stated that “a casualty reduction milestone of 50% by 2030 should be the target and would be easily achievable if the action plan ITT develops is followed”. The project will run for 6 months and will include a wide range of road safety measures for consideration. During the course of the project, ITT will also develop a geo-referenced Crash Database, which will be handed over upon completion. Measures from the Action Plan are scheduled for implementation as soon as the Action Plan is finished.