PUBLIC Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan has apologised to commuters who criticised the suspension of the use of a third lane along the East Bank Demerara which resulted in a massive traffic build up there on Wednesday.
Ramjattan also noted that Commissioner of Police, Leslie James was the person who ‘made the call’ to suspend the use of the third lane.
He and the traffic chief reportedly received complaints from commuters heading south along the East Bank Demerara corridor that they were affected by the three-way traffic route to Georgetown.
“It is the commissioner to make the call and he made the call,” Ramjattan told reporters.
The three-way traffic arrangement has been in place for several years and appears to have been working well, at least for those heading into Georgetown from the East Bank and West Demerara in the mornings and returning home in the afternoons.
“To placate them apparently, he tried it out but it was totally, in my view, not an advisable thing to do so. I rather suppose that this morning (Thursday) it would be restored to traffic in the morning, coming into Georgetown, there must be three lanes, one on the other side of the road and one going it in the afternoon, it will be tree lanes in the afternoon like normal. A lot of people called me with a lot of vexation and I have to apologise, so we are going to correct the situation,” Ramjattan said.
Ramjattan noted that while the decision to suspend the third lane was one made by the Police Force, it is an operational matter, which falls within the remit of the Police Force.
“These are operational matter, and operational matters are handled by the police and if upon that handling of it, it does have huge other problem, well then we resolve it; it is like you have to do certain things by trial and error and the minute we realised that there some negatives about it, we have it corrected,” the Public Security Minister said.
The suspension of the third lane caused much discomfort to persons using the East Bank Demerara carriageway since no prior notice was given to the public about the change.
On Thursday morning, the south-bound East Bank carriageway returned to a two-lane traffic heading in the opposition direction as the police sought to ease the congestion caused by the numerous vehicles heading into the City.
The issue of big sand trucks on the road has also caused some concerns to commuters, but Ramjattan said systems will be put in place to fix the problem.
“What we will have to do is to get the big trucks carrying containers and sand, and so on, off the road during those morning hours — that’s also an additional kind of instruction so that we can ease that thing. A lot of people live on the East Bank now that come to work in Georgetown and they are saying that sometimes these big trucks park on the road and block them,” the minister said.