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Burt promises roadside sobriety tests

Road crisis: Sylvan Richards called for decisive action (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Roadside breath tests will be introduced this year.

David Burt, the Premier, said at the House of Assembly on Friday that his party was committed to keeping its Throne Speech promise to introduce roadside sobriety tests.

Those remarks came in response to Sylvan Richards, the deputy Opposition leader, who described the rate of deaths on the roads as a “crisis”.

Mr Burt’s pledge came a day after Mendell Outerbridge, 34, died when his motorcycle hit a truck as he was being chased by police on Thursday night.

Mr Outerbridge was the island’s fourteenth road fatality of the year.

Mr Burt said during the motion to adjourn: “While the former government spoke about these issues, rest assured that the items which were in our Throne Speech, we intend to enact this year.”

He added: “Now that will not solve the problems, and some people may believe it will cause others, but one thing is clear and I want everyone to understand in this country who is listening, when this government makes a commitment to act in either its Throne Speech or its platforms, we will deliver on the promises which we make to the people of this country.”

Mr Burt, who joined with Mr Richards to offer condolences to the Outerbridge family, added that losing a loved one is “never anything that is taken easily by families and we have to make sure that we recognise that there are people hurting inside of our communities”.

He said: “It is our job as leaders to recognise that to comfort them and also to deal with solving the issues at the core of what causes so many young black men and women having their lives ended before their time.

“There is a large discussion that we can have about that and there will be a time to have that discussion because it is something that is very important.”

Mr Richards described the rate of deaths on the island’s roads as a “crisis just like gun violence is a crisis”.

He said: “Last night was not a good night for me. I saw a mother mourning the loss of her son, a sister mourning the loss of her brother, and this unfortunately is repeated over and over again.”

Mr Richards added: “We have to get to grips with this and if anybody is listening to my voice — if it’s a mother, a father, a grandmother, an auntie, or even a young person who may be listening to Parliament on a Friday night — really, really think about what you are doing because life is precious and fragile.

“We’ve lost too many lives, too much potential — children are growing up without their fathers and mothers.”

Mr Richards asked that everyone “reflect on our own personal behaviour”.

He added: “Let’s talk to our young people. Let’s talk to our relatives who we all know like to speed and drive a little reckless.

“Let’s talk to them and try to encourage them to amend their own behaviour because every time a life is lost, it affects such a wide variety of people.