Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 16th 2013 Contents A27
Saturday, November 16, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Decades before Australian Mel
Gibson actor spread his wings
in Hollywood, he starred in a
movie classic called Mad Max.
This was the story of a post
apocalyptic world where all law
and order has dissolved utterly
and desolate highways are prime
habitats for bloodthirsty killers.
We have been able to replicate
this fictional landscape with star-
tling accuracy. In this land where
the law whispers and mob rule
bellows, the highway marauders
are playing for keeps.
With the most recent spate of
road fatalities, society wound up
the old "shock and horror" music
box which typically comes into
play when the accustomed "road
fatalities" leap the guard rails to
deliver something singularly grue-
There were four fatal crashes in
less than a week, culminating with
the omen-esque killing of a
woman in San Juan when a length
of steel, flung from a truck, pen-
etrated her windscreen.
Naturally, the conversation
steers towards the incompetence
of law enforcement and the inabil-
ity of the police to alter dangerous
behaviours behind the wheel.
Enough has been said about the
shortcomings of the police service.
This isn t likely to change in the
near term as the fundamental
changes needed in the service
continue to encounter resistance.
Our eagerness to funnel the
blame entirely towards police
deadquarters makes it much easier
for each and every one of us to
abdicate our personal responsi-
bility. Police officers nut doin dey
wuk, but when we are rampin
over dividers, flyin through red
lights and mistaking the nip of
puncheon for the gear stick this
is all because there is no one there
to clout us.
It is terrifying to live in a coun-
try that leans entirely on "law
enforcement" and no "law abid-
ing". Road regulations and their
implementation are of course crit-
ical underpinnings of ensuring
road safety. Their effectiveness is
undermined when citizens don t
believe that there is any obligation
to operate within those parame-
ters. Why do big people have to
be threatened with prosecution to
do what we all know is the right
At the traffic light near to the
lighthouse on South Quay, traffic
exiting Port-of-Spain, and pro-
ceeding east along Wrightson road
has the use of two lanes to do so.
Apparently this is inadequate
so the shoulder is co-opted as a
third lane. In effect, three lanes
must merge into two.....on a cor-
Recently I saw a police officer
do something quite unusual.
Noticing that several vehicles
were lined up on the aforemen-
tioned shoulder waiting for the
light to turn green, he parked his
motorcycle directly in front of the
car at the head of the line. The
bike was practically leaning on the
bumper of that vehicle.
The law breaking motorists
could not move, the traffic was
so dense they couldn t swap lanes
and simply had to wait until the
police officer thought that they d
learned a lesson.
Truth be known, if that were
his objective, they would all still
We condemn the police (and in
many instances it is warranted)
but we want the law to be
enforced on our own terms.
How many of us quarrel and
moan about being harassed by
police officers for parking illegally?
"So many murders in the country
and this is what you wastin time
We want the police to do their
bloody jobs!....... just not when
we are double parked waiting to
pick up our children and incon-
veniencing everyone else.
I spent two "life stealing" hours
in traffic heading east this week.
Owed to an accident in which a
car crashed into the back of a
truck on the Beetham highway, I
took a detour in the hope of get-
ting to the Eastern Main Road.
There I experienced another
very "Trini" phenomenon. In sit-
uations of standstill traffic, appar-
ently all laws of the road are sus-
pended. Some drivers barrel down
the road in the wrong direction
just to beat everyone else to the
Everyone s time is more impor-
tant that everyone else s. Sure you
need to get to a critical meeting,
I m just driving for leisure in the
impenetrable traffic of the down-
town midday gridlock. Go ahead
and abruptly cut ahead of me.
The "police surveillance bays"
constructed along the north-south
dual carriageway are now being
used exactly as I predicted.
Motorists are doing U-turns into
traffic where speeds can average
up to 190 kilometres an hour.
Notwithstanding the absence of
the police from these surveillance
bays, are you telling me that
motorists don t know that this is
not just wrong, but extremely
Sustained education coupled
with consistent law enforcement
is the only solution to this stub-
born problem. Law enforcement
will account for the ineducable
among us. Judging by the prevail-
ing trends of traffic accidents, this
is not an insignificant demograph-
ic.Until then we will continue to
be assailed by the horrific death
and destruction wrought by our
Mad Max Trinis.
MAD MAX TRINIS
enforcement is the
only solution to this
will account for the
us. Judging by the
prevailing trends of
this is not an
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