Employed by the Ministry of Transport, and managed by the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), Traffic Wardens are set to hit the streets in the coming weeks.
A three weeks training, done under the auspices of the RGPF Training School begun on Monday for 60 young men and women at the conference room of the Melville Street Cruise Ship Terminal.
The official launch and opening ceremony was attended by Acting Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin, Officer in Charge of the Traffic Department, Assistant Superintendant of Police (ASP) Linford Kingston, Minister of Communication, Works and transport, Gregroy Bowen and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Willan Thompson.
Minister Bowen told the Traffic Wardens that government sees them as the first step towards helping to find a solution to the traffic situation in the country.
“We have problems and you our trainees are the first component to the solution. You have heard me say time and time again, that not only do we have to fix the traffic situation with respect to parking in the town of St. George, Grenville, St. Patrick, St. John etc. but we also have to look at how do we institute the “Park and Ride situation, particularly in the town of St. George”, he said.
According to Minister Bowen who is considered as the Number Two in the ruling New National Party (NNP) government, he is confident that the Park and Ride” concept will be part of the training programme.
He told the trainees that they have a critical role to “either ensure that traffic safety is improved or you could leave a sour taste in the mouths of pedestrians as well as drivers”.
“…Your approach therefore is critical…”, he quipped.
Minister Bowen said that the last traffic study showed that between 2008 to 2012, there was a 31% decline in the registration of vehicles but the situation has now vastly changed.
He said: “Every year in the last five years from 2013 to 2018, the increase in registration was 42%. Between those periods that actual number was in the range of 19,000 vehicles which approach now 35-36,000 vehicles. That is a task that we have to address and you (Traffic Wardens) are in the forefront.
“We can’t do it by ourselves, we must work with the drivers and pedestrians and so in your engagement, you must ensure that there is a harmonious relationship between the wardens and those that we try to make them do better in utilising our roads,” he added.
The traffic wardens system, according to Acting Commissioner of Police Martin is a critical element among a number of strategies to be implemented by the Police Force in an attempt to effectively address the current and future challenges related to traffic management on the island.
He urged the trainees to give off their best during the training exercise.
“If you our wardens are ineffective in delivering your service and if your deployment does not manifest itself in an immediate ease to traffic congestion, illegal parking and obstruction, then your appointment will not be justified. It is important that you succeed, we want you to succeed because your success will result in our roads becoming safer and an improvement in the ease with which businesses and ordinary persons will be able to carry out their activities on a daily basis”, he said.
“…There is no doubt that there will be challenges to this task. On a daily basis, you will have to deal with motorists and pedestrians who are disgruntled, impatient and recalcitrant. Responding to a multiplicity of complex and challenging situations will be your litmus test from the first day of your deployment. I am also cognisant that the majority of you are women, however, I want to assure you that this fact has no relevance to your suitability or capability to deliver on this mandate. Your training programme is designed to ensure that you are fit for (the) task, knowledgeable and competent”, he added.
ASP Kingston encouraged the trainees to take seriously everything that is being taught to them so that they will be able to collaborate successfully in improving on the traffic situation.
“I admonish you to take your training seriously, make good use of this opportunity, take advantage of the people who are here to help you, that’s your instructors. At the end of your three weeks training, what you learn during the training would determine how well you perform on the outside. It (is) said (that) the essence of knowledge is in its application, I urge you to learn as much as you can, so you can execute your function with a sense of assertiveness and alacrity.
I welcome you to the first day of a new career. Work hard and I look forward in working along with you as you join us in our quest in making Grenada roads safer,” he said.
Chief Instructor at the Police Training School, Inspector Maureen Stanislaus gave an insight into what will be taught to the wardens throughout the three weeks.
“You will be given theory and practical in the fixed penalty system, a lot of this is what your work will entail while you’re out there.
You will visit main traffic points around Grenada and visit the Magistrate’s court. You will practice giving evidence because if you issue tickets, you will have to attend the Magistrate’s court, so we will take you through these, in your ability to deliver. You would also do First aid as part of your training and you will receive training in Customer Service. This is very important because it is not only locals that you serve – we have a lot of visitors that come through here from time to time.
“…You will be tested in your second and third week to ensure that the information that is being given to you daily that you can be able to apply it in your everyday work outside. So, you ought to take the training seriously. The training is being run under the auspices of the Training school, so, even if you’re not in the walls, the same quality of training that is delivered within the walls, you would have here.
The trainees are also expected to be trained in ethical behaviours, pocket book entries, traffic and road safety and report writing.
The Wardens will be deployed in every parish on the island to work in collaboration with the Traffic Department and officers attached to the respective police stations and divisions.
They will be tasked with giving traffic directions, clamping vehicles, issuing fixed penalty tickets for traffic offences and later on with enforcing the Litter Abatement Act.