We are having too many accidents – Hanover fire chief
Raymond DeSouza, who heads the Hanover division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, is becoming increasingly concerned about the vast number of road crashes occurring in the western parish, especially involving motorcyclists, who are oftentimes killed or seriously injured.
“I want to take note that we (fire personnel) would have seen a considerable increase in motor vehicle and motorbike accidents within the parish over the last two years, which not only impacts the fire brigade, but also the health services and the police,” DeSouza told the recent monthly meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation.
Subsequent checks by T he Gleaner revealed that fire personnel responded to 30 emergency calls stemming from motor vehicle crashes in the parish in 2019. In 2020, there were 46 such calls, while from January to June 2021, there have been 37 emergency calls.
According to DeSouza, fire personnel responded to 18 emergency calls stemming from road crashes in June alone, with 11 involving motorcycles. Most of the accidents occurred along the Green Island to Orange Bay roadway and the Sandy Bay to Lucea main road.
Lucea Mayor Sheridan Samuels told the municipal meeting that he, too, was quite concerned about the frequency of crashes and questioned whether or not the law was being followed as it relates to the wearing of protective gear. He also raised concerns about the licensing and insuring of motorcycles.
“These things (the enforcement of the laws) are not happening, and it is not only in Hanover, but across the entire island,” said Samuels, in pleading to the authorities to take action against motorcycle operators who are breaching the law.
Superintendent Sharon Beeput, the police commander for Hanover, said the police are doing all they can to address the lawlessness.
“Just to say that the police have been doing what they can, and we are enforcing, even though you may not see much,” said Beeput, adding that a visit to the parish’s police headquarters, on Watson Taylor Drive, would reveal the vast number of motorcycles seized by the police.
“We are doing this on a daily basis, up to yesterday,” said Beeput, who noted that at times, influential persons in the parish have approached police personnel in an effort to help youngsters retrieve some of the seized motorcycles.
According to Beeput, a daily report has to be submitted to the Police High Command outlining initiatives carried out by police against lawless motorcycles operating in the parish.
“The place (the station yard) is full now (with seized motorcycles), we cannot even find space to park the service vehicles,” said Beeput, in reference to the over 200 seized motorcycles at the police headquarters.