In his keynote address, the Minister of Works and Public Assets, Raymond D’Souza George, who deputized for the President, said the goal of the New Direction administration of HE Julius Maada Bio on road safety management is to reduce the burden of premature death and disability due to road traffic injuries in the country. He said the vision of government is to make roads in the country the safest in Africa where national crash fatality levels are kept at a minimum.
The Minister said the plan of action also entails the shifting of responsibility for the roads by users to those who design road transport systems, notwithstanding the fact that there are other players in the road sector such as health services, the Judiciary, schools and NGOs among others.
The launch of the week-long commemoration was attended by ministers of government, heads of departments and agencies, the Police, Military, civil society organizations and stakeholders in the road sector.
Earlier in his statement, the Chairman Board of Directors SLRSA, Sheikh Mustapha Bawoh said the commemoration of the African Road Safety Week and the commissioning of the National Road Safety Committee is laudable as it is in conformity with the dictates of the African Road Safety Action Plan.
Chairman Bawoh lamented the pathetic, sorrowful and deadly status of Sierra Leone’s road story when he said four hundred people die yearly with hundreds more injured or made disabled.
He noted that for the Road Safety Committee to work effectively, an observatory board would have to be established to monitor supervise and regulate the activities of the Road Safety Committee.
He suggested that such a board which will be chaired by the Hon. Vice President of Sierra Leone and would also include the ministers of Transport and Aviation, Local Government, Health and Sanitation, Works and Public Assets, Internal Affairs, SLRSA, ONS, IGP, among others to enforce compliance among other duties.
The Deputy Executive Director, Ibrahim Sannoh gave a rundown of the Authority’s activities and the strides they have taken to ensure safer roads for all.
The Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation, Sadiq Sillah called for the full implementation of the laws relating to road safety, adding that the New Direction administration will not hesitate to bring to book all those who flout the laws of the land.
While pledging his ministry’s support to any laudable venture in the area of road safety, the Deputy Minister called on other stakeholders to expose all those intending to sabotage the work of government.
The week long program will take the form of a float parade, education, sensitizations and other public engagement with the sole purpose of creating awareness about the dangers of over speeding and responsible driving.