Frequent complaints to the Guyana Police Force from members of the public prompted the Police to suspend the three-lane traffic arrangement along the East Bank corridor, an apologetic Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan said on Thursday.
Ramjattan’s comments came even as the Police Force remains tight-lipped on the issue which caused major traffic chaos over the last two days and frustrated thousands of commuters.
“I understand that it was an attempt to see if that could work, they were some people complaining…to the Traffic Chief and the Commissioner that [the] third land is creating traffic going outwards in the opposite direction… major hiccups for them,” Ramjattan told reporters at his Brickdam office.
After the two-day unannounced suspension during peak hours, the Police reversed the suspension Thursday morning.
“From what I understand from the Commissioner is everybody, people who are going to school in that area, professionals that are working in businesses up the East Bank, public servants that have to go to work and to the airport, they are complaining that a lane has been taken away from them,” the Security Minister explained.
The Minister said that it was the Police Commissioner Leslie James who made the decision to suspend the third lane.
Ramjattan said in his opinion, a suspension was not “an advisable thing” to do.
“So I rather suppose traffic in the mornings coming into Georgetown there must be three lanes and when we going in the afternoon there must be three lanes, like normal,” he added.
The Minister said over the last two days he received numerous calls from persons expressing tremendous vexation.
To this end, he offered an apology and promised the Government’s intervention to correct the situation.
He said what also needs to be done is to have large trucks not traverse the East Bank Corridor during the peak hours. The Police were observed on Thursday asking truck drivers to park their vehicles and not continue into the city.
“A lot of people live on the East Bank that comes to work in Georgetown and they are saying that these big trucks sometimes park on the side of the road and block them, but also travelling on the road in the morning time. We will have to work out a better arrangement, I thought we had gotten it right,” he said.
He said the difficulty is that there is only one route for motorists into the city.
“Approximately 10,000 cars are coming in annually and we haven’t done another set of road, we have only made portions of that double lane but that is not going to ease the situation with that amount of cars coming in every year.”
Ramjattan promised speedy action to construct the long-promised alternative road from Ogle on the East Coast of Demerara to Diamond along the East Bank as early as possible with the hope of bringing an end to the congestion.