Jamaica Gleaner / Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen has offered words of encouragement to families and friends of road crash victims, as Jamaica joined countries across the world to observe World Day of Remembrance (WDR) for Road Traffic Victims.
WDR is observed annually on the third Sunday in November by an increasing number of countries across the world. The day is dedicated to remembering the millions injured or killed in road crashes and their families and communities, as well as to pay tribute to the dedicated emergency crews, police and medical professionals who deal on a daily basis with the traumatic aftermath of road death and injury.
This year, WDR was observed under the theme, which echoes the target for 2020, “Reduce road fatalities and serious injuries by 50 per cent”. The theme falls under the strategic overarching premise -From Global Remembrance to Global Action across the Decade – Let’s make 2011-2020 a Decade to Remember!
In his address, delivered by Dr. Patricia Dunwell, Custos of St. Andrew, the Governor-General noted that, despite the best efforts, fatal crashes continue to increase across the island. These crashes consume scarce national resources, especially in medical facilities, as they negatively affect the country’s capacity to adequately fund other areas of national life.
“While death from road crashes should not be examined solely in economic terms, given the sanctity of life, it bears noting that road deaths represent lost potential and deny the nation of its youngest, brightest and most productive citizens,” he noted.
The Governor-General added: “Today we remember those who lost their lives in road crashes. We recognise their contribution to their families and their communities. Many were young professionals, artisans, athletes and students, while others were making their way through life to become what God intended them to be.
“Sadly, their families are left to mourn them and to perennially wonder what they would have become or what they would have achieved had it not been for that fateful incident. No doubt, that’s what is going through the minds of the family and friends of Shantae Rose and Franklin Hylton, both of Glendevon, St. James and the widow of Alwayne Hylton from Greenwood in the same parish who were among those who died tragically this past week.
“They and many others were at various stages of their personal growth and development, either providing for their families or taking advantage of the investment that the country is making in their education,” the Governor General said.
Road crash fatalities in Jamaica have been as high as 444 in 1991 to a low of 260 in 2012. For 2015 and 2016, the fatalities stood at 382 and 379 respectively. To date, there have been 290 road crash fatalities compared to 347 for the corresponding period last year.
In light of the WDR acknowledgements the Governor-General reminded friends and family members of road traffic victims to hold the fond memories close and to relish the thoughts of their happy moments together.
“Today as the families of road crash victims contemplate ‘what if’ and ‘if only’, there are no answers or words to dull the pain. Take courage in the Native American proverb which reminds us all that ‘we are known forever by the tracks that we leave.’ Reach forth for the goodness of the legacy of your loved ones. Let it be an inspiration to you as you reach out and claim the greatness that life has in store for you,” said Sir Patrick.