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Road traffic accidents place a major burden on the healthcare system

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • As of September 2019, there have been 1,800 accidents recorded
  • Hit-and-run accidents have steadily risen
  • Loss of income at home due to injuries sustained must also be included

Although there are no official statistics quantifying the economic burden of road traffic accidents on Grenada’s health sector, Senior Medical Officer, Dr Sonia Nixon, said it is putting an additional strain on the resources of the hospital and the state. She said this problem is not unique to Grenada but is cause for concern on a global scale. She quoted statistics provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that 1.24 million people die annually on the world’s roads, with 20–50 million sustaining non-fatal injuries.

Dr Nixon agrees the actual cost for Grenada cannot be easily quantified since it goes way beyond hospital care. She said the additional cost implications outside of receiving emergency healthcare is seldom taken into consideration. “I think it is more than just the cost for hospital care. Is it just Plaster of Paris, or is it 6 hours in the theatre?”

Dr Nixon said the loss of income at home due to injuries sustained from road accidents must also be a factor included in the discussion. “Let’s just imagine for example, you had a really bad accident where you became incapacitated at age 45 where you are the owner of your business. Where you employ 10 people and you have lost the ability to work. Think of what it will cost for long term homecare, but you are not earning. Think about your incapacity to deliver to the national coffers or National Insurance Scheme because you are expected to work for the next 15 years and contribute, but instead, you are no longer contributing but removing.”

Dr Nixon encourages drivers to become safe and responsible drivers on the nation’s roads, which involves knowing your highway code. “Are we prepared to be good drivers, do we understand the [highway code]? So, there are other things that are not necessarily directly related to what it costs to health, but what is costs to the entire country and the entire health system. We really want to encourage people to know your [highway code], to not drive under the influence. We are asking that people become responsible drivers by taking precautions.”

The Traffic Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) continues to see steady increases in road traffic accidents. Since speeding is one of the main causes of accidents, Sergeant Ryan Smith — with responsibility for accident investigation — encourages drivers to be aware of the speed limit, and in the event that they are adhering to the speed limit, other factors must be taken into consideration with regards to either the width of the road, obstruction or road conditions.

As of September 2019, there have been 1,800 accidents recorded which include serious and fatal accidents. Figures are still being collected for October 2019.

Sergeant Smith pointed out that hit-and-run accidents have steadily risen. “The resources that we have been employing is stricter enforcement in terms of motorcycle patrols, mobile patrols, speed checks and so on in different areas in what we refer to as accident-prone areas, so we have officers out there. We are more in tune with the causes of accidents and where they occur… what we are seeing is a number of hit-and-run accidents, in that I mean people are getting involved in an accident and are not stopping.”

The Road Traffic Act clearly outlines criminal penalties that will apply to anyone in contravention. According to the act, any person who contravenes or fails to comply with this section commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of $2,000 or imprisonment for six months, or both such fine and imprisonment.

Section 75 (1) of the Road Traffic Act section 75 (1), outlines the duty of a driver in case of an accident. It states a person riding, driving or in charge of any vehicle of any description shall, if, owing to the presence of the vehicle on a road, an accident occurs whereby personal injury is caused to any person or damage is caused to any vehicle

(a) immediately stop; and

(b) if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring, give

(i) his or her name and address

(ii) the name and address of the owner of the vehicle

(iii) the registration number of the vehicle

(iv) the name of the insurance company with which the vehicle is insured

(v) the names of all persons in the vehicle at the time of the accident

(c)report the accident at a police station as soon as reasonably practicable but before the expiration of a period of 24 hours after its occurrence.

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Caribbean & World

UK parliamentarians visit to Grenada

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A six-member Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA UK) cross-party delegation of members and officials from the UK Houses of Parliament, visited Grenada from 19-21 February. They also visited Barbados.

The visit was organised in partnership with the Parliament of Grenada and the British High Commission.

Their programme of meetings and visits addressed topical issues such as international trade, security, climate change and disaster resilience. During their time in Grenada, the delegation met with key parliamentary stakeholders, officials and leading civil society members.

Lord Mann of Holbeck Moor, on behalf of the delegation, said, “It was an incredible experience to visit Barbados and Grenada as part of a cross-party delegation. We touched on a range of issues, including trade, climate change and the fight against crime, all of which are important issues for both the UK and the region. Strengthening our economic, environmental and security partnerships will be of benefit to both sides. The delegation enjoyed meeting with Ministers and Parliamentarians, and I hope our valued relationship with the Eastern Caribbean will be further strengthened by this visit.’’

British Resident Commissioner to Grenada Wendy Freeman said, “I am very grateful to the MPs from the UK branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for their valuable visit to Grenada. Not only for strengthening the parliamentary and commonwealth links but also for supporting the newly established British High Commission. Come back again soon!”

This bilateral visit to the region was the first CPA UK visit in several years. The programme provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen relations with the region, particularly on areas such as trade, climate change, security and social issues.

About CPA UK

CPA UK supports and strengthens parliamentary democracy throughout the Commonwealth. It focuses on key issues including women in parliament, modern slavery, financial oversight, security and trade.

Peer to peer learning is central to the way CPA UK works. CPA UK brings together UK and Commonwealth parliamentarians and officials, to share knowledge and learn from each other. It aims to improve parliamentary oversight, scrutiny and representation. CPA UK is located in, and funded by, the UK Parliament.

For further information, please contact Fleur ten Hacken at tenhackenf@parliament.uk, or CPA UK at cpauk@parliament.uk or tweet @CPA _UK.

British High Commission

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Caribbean & World

The coolest museum that you’ve never seen – Nas Daily

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In the small island nation of Grenada, there is a super cool museum… that is hidden… underwater! :O

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Caribbean & World

PURC’s series of public consultations

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You are invited to the PURC’s Series of Public Consultations.

Meeting of stakeholders and the general public to discuss Draft Regulations for the Electricity Sector

Meetings start at 5:30 pm (5 pm in St George)

We will present on the draft regulations and take your questions and comments.

View Draft Regulations: www.purc.gd/consultations or mgovernance.net/publications

Contact us: 1 (473) 437-1602 | fb.me/PURCGrenada

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