By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter
Belize has won the “Find a Way Award” at the 4th International Road (IRF) Federation Caribbean Regional Congress for promoting good road safety measures in schools and the wider public.
The award, given at the Hilton Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica on Wednesday, is part of an IRF program set up to recognise countries and projects that place road traffic safety at the forefront of social and economic development. It took effect after the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 was launched in more than 100 countries in May of 2011 – its goal being to prevent five million road traffic deaths globally by 2020.
The IRF saw that the Belize Government promotes good road safety measures using mediums such as schools, the media, government bodies, civil society, religious denominations and the private sector.
Locally, the road safety program, launched in March of 2013, serves as the first phase of what is expected to be a long-term initiative by the government to improve road safety in the country, with the Ministry of Economic Development as the lead agency and with components involving the Ministries of Works, Transport, Education, Health, Youth, and National Security.
In 2009, Belize’s fatality rate was estimated at around 21 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants and in 2014, the fatality rate was estimated at 15.60 per 100,000 inhabitants. In 2013, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the government entered into a loan agreement to implement a possible solution to curb the high death toll by traffic accidents through improving the safety of road infrastructure, educating road-users, improving the enforcement of traffic laws, improving post-crash care, and building road safety management capacity through better monitoring.
Ms. Yvonne Hyde, chief executive officer in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development received the award on behalf of Belize and the Belize delegation to Jamaica was financed by the Caribbean Development Bank