Earl Jarrett, Chairman of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA), and General Manager of Jamaica National Building Society, said that every life lost on the roadways in Jamaica slows the nation’s drive towards economic growth and development, as each represents a tangible loss to the nation’s potential for progress.
Mr. Jarrett, who was addressing the launch of the National Road Safety Council’s (NRSC) 20th Anniversary Celebrations, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, on March 14, 2013, said “It is important that all citizens pay attention to the efforts to reduce road crashes.”
Highlighting the fact that road fatalities constitute the second highest cause of death in Jamaica, after homicide, he asserted that ,“Our country’s national development can only be assured if we acknowledge that, in this new economic dispensation, which is driven by services, every Jamaican human being is an economic agent.”
He lauded the NRSC for its 20 years of service and tireless efforts to safeguard the well-being of Jamaicans; particularly through its Below 300 Project, which contributed to the reduction of road fatalities from 307 in 2011, to 260 in 2012.
The Below 300 Project also assisted in procuring new equipment for the Police Force. In addition to which, private sector companies, such as the JN General Insurance Company, purchased four bikes for the police. The bikes arrived in Jamaica recently; and will be handed over shortly. The Jamaica Automobile Association has also made valuable contributions to the effort through its Road Safety Programme for Schools, which is undertaken in concert with the Traffic Department of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Other significant strides made, as a result of the direct influence of the Below 300 Project, included the hosting of the first National Road Safety Symposium in 2011, which launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety in Jamaica; and the Proclamation of the Decade of Action for Road Safety in Jamaica, by the Governor-General, His Excellency, Sir Patrick Allen, in that same year.
The 20th anniversary celebrations will also highlight the new Below 240 Campaign which is part of efforts by the Council to lower road fatalities in Jamaica during the three year period 2013 – 2016.
One highlight of the NRSC 20th anniversary celebrations will be a working visit of His Royal Highness Prince (HRH) Michael of Kent, royal patron for the Commission for Global Road Safety and patron of the non-profit organisation, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), in April.
Dr Lucien Jones, Vice-Chairman and convenor of the NRSC, said Prince Michael will be taken on tour of facilities which promote road safety in the island.
“His Royal Highness will also visit the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre in Mona, and attend a banquet where former Prime Ministers will be honoured. In addition, a posthumous award will be conferred on the founder of the Council, Sir John Golding,” Dr. Jones stated.