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IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: Boarish behaviour by Bajans

ROY R. MORRIS, [email protected]

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: Boarish behaviour by Bajans

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TODAY, let’s talk basics – a few things that every licensed driver should know.

• A red signal light means STOP.

• A red arrow means STOP until the green signal or green arrow appears. A turn may not be made against a red arrow.

• A flashing red signal light means exactly the same as a stop sign: STOP! After stopping, proceed when safe and observe the right-of-way rules.

Everywhere in the world where there are cars and traffic signals there are rules right-thinking people observe. In Barbados, however, we make up our own rules: My vehicle is bigger than yours so I ain’t stopping. Look at my face and tell yourself if I look like I plan to stop. I in a hurry so watch yuh. . . .

In short, red lights – and flashing red lights in particular – in Barbados present more dangers to an innocent road user than an ISIS-inspired bomber in Damascus.

Having driven in North America, and because I am an auto lover and like to keep up on the latest technology in vehicles, I also do quite a bit of reading about traffic rules. Having seen some of the worst driving exhibited at the Baxters Road/Westbury Road/Passage Road/Barbarees Hill junction with the lights on flashing mode for almost two weeks, I went back to the Internet to see if the rules had changed.

Canadian authorities advise: “You must come to a complete stop at a flashing red light. Move through the intersection only when it is safe.”

The British say: “During an electrical power loss, traffic lights at intersections will not work. Yield the right-of-way to vehicles in the intersection and to vehicles entering the intersection from your right. Go cautiously and use the intersection the same way you would use an intersection with all-way [four-way] stop signs.”

They add: “Flashing Red Signal – Make a full stop . . . . Yield to traffic, and proceed only when intersection is clear.”

So let’s make it a little clearer by looking at the rules for a four-way stop junction. One traffic management site explains it thus:

• A four-way stop is any intersection with a stop sign in each direction, a flashing red light in each direction. A broken traffic light should be treated as a four-way stop normally would.

• Each driver arriving at a four-way stop must first come to a stop, then one driver proceeds at a time.

• If multiple cars approach a four-way stop at about the same time, the driver who comes to a complete stop first proceeds first.

There is no rule that says “boar” through the intersection and scare everyone else. Yes, that is the spelling I intended. Or, because the car in front of you moved through you have some automatic right to muscle through as well. When the vehicle in front of you moves forward through the intersection you are still required to stop at the time – and wait your turn, having considered the position of others who were already on the line.

Ease up at the flashing red light people You will eventually get where you are going.

Prescod wrong about squatters in the Belle

I DON’T LIKE PUBLICLY disagreeing with a politician because the moment you do your motives as labelled as sinister. Criticise something a Bee does and you did it because you are a Dem; point out an error is something a Dem did and you are forever a Bee.

What the hell, call me a Dem, even though no Dem ever will. I have known MP Trevor Prescod for many years, going back to the days when Dr Don Blackman loomed larger than life in The Ivy; when “Pressie” worked at Barbados Light & Power and I was a young and inexperienced reporter. He has always been a fighter when it comes to issues of the “poor black man” and I have never seen anything to suggest his intentions have been anything but sincere and noble.

But Pressie is also a talker, and sometimes talkers can get ahead of themselves. Last weekend at a political meeting in Baxters Road, Prescod declared that squatters in the Belle will not be moving. He was adamant.

Now if this was just an academic or procedural matter of some impoverished families taking possession of public lands I would not be too bothered, but we are talking about scores of people residing over the most vital source of drinking water for a large portion of the population with the potential to contaminate it.

They have to go

Sorry, Mr Prescod, but if they have to go in the public interest, they have to go. They have no legal right to be there and present a serious health risk to the population. Grandstanding will not remove the threat to the water supply, and I believe Barbadians are tired of hearing about a sewerage plant for the area because we heard it from a previous DLP Government, a previous BLP Government and now this DLP Government. Will the Bees again promise it in their next manifesto?

I agree that since the state has allowed these people to “settle” in the Belle for so many years, it can’t just uproot them and leave them to suffer. It has a duty to assist them in relocating to legally allowed areas, clearing the Belle and that ensuring that no one else settles there.

But squatters in the Belle have no right to remain there, and a representative has a duty to call a spade a spade even if it makes him unpopular with a particular group.

No one is fighting you, PM

CALL ME A BEE, and see if I care!

I get the sense that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is so hung up about being right and adamant about every thing he says, on the few occasions he does say something, he now consistently comes over as though he believes his is omnipotent and omniscient – but that would make him God.

On March 16, he spoke in the House of Assembly extensively on the decision to fingerprint all people entering and leaving the country from April 1. He waxed warm on the subject, explaining why Government took the decision. I did not get the impression that any of the stated objections or reservations meant anything to him or his Government.

Let me state that personally, I have no problem with the universal fingerprinting, although I still question whether it is necessary. But if I have to submit to fingerprinting it really does not bother me because I don’t believe I will suffer any harm.

However, I do understand the stance taken by people like attorney David Comissiong, as well as the BLP, from the perspective that if the measure is unconstitutional challenging it is in the best interest of preserving the spirit and letter of the instrument.

All it would require to settle this issue, according to my legally untrained mind, is for the option to be put to Bajans entering and leaving. I believe most Bajans will have no problem, and if there is cause to suspect someone who has objected then there are other avenues authorities have always had. Visitors, however, would have no choice but to submit or “turn back”.

What I do not understand, and cannot appreciate, is this almost reflex action by operatives of the Government of picking a fight with anyone who disagrees with them. When the Prime Minister spoke in Parliament on March 16, could he not have set out the reasons for the measure, acknowledge the concerns raised and disclose that implementation was being postponed to give consideration to these objections?

Was it so hard to say to Bajans the Government will examine what Comissiong said, or that there may be some merit in the stance of the Bar Association, or even that for the first time in life a spokesman for an Opposition party said something that made sense?

Unless, of course, the Prime Minister, who is the minister responsible for immigration, did not know on March 16 about the decision to postpone, which the Acting Chief Immigration Officer announced two days later.

Come on, Mr PM, everything does not have to be a fight, and everyone who disagrees with you is not your enemy.

Again, an apology from me. Over the past few weeks I have been inundated with pressing administrative duties that have kept me away from fulfilling some journalistic undertakings I gave.

I’m sorry if I did not keep my promise to you regarding an interview, investigation or story we discussed. I will undertake to start addressing these matters over the next week or so.