The Government of Belize, on December 13, 2016, received the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award. Accepting the award on behalf of the Government and People of Belize was the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum, Ms. Yvonne Sharman Hyde and the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Works, Mr. Errol Gentle, based on their leadership role to move road safety to a higher integrated level in the region. This award was presented in The Lancaster Suite, Savoy, The Strand, London.
The Government of Belize, for many years, has been assessing the road network in the country as the ranking of death within the Ministry of Health system being the fourth cause of death in Belize. In 2012 the Belize Road Safety Project was implemented and in 2013, with a multifaceted approach intervention, the project results have successfully demonstrated the benefits of all road safety partners working collaboratively on a high-collision corridor. Using Safe System interventions many lives have been saved on this 50 mile stretch of highway. Prior to the interventions, the demonstration corridor accounted for almost 50% of all road traffic deaths in the country of Belize. At the end of December 2015 less than 10% of road deaths have occurred on this corridor.
In 2012, the Belize Road Safety Project commenced implemented by the Government of Belize and the Caribbean Development Bank, the first phase of what is expected to be a long term initiative for the country. The recipients of this prestigious award are leaders in this initiative and who have provided oversight through the Road Safety Operational Steering Committee and the National Road Safety Committee – Co-Chairs: Mrs. Yvonne Sharman Hyde, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum and Mr Errol Gentle, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Works.
The population including visitors using the road system are applauded for their efforts including the staff from the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum, serving as the executing agency for this project, supported by professionals from line Ministries of Education, Youth and Sports; Health; Works; Finance; Transport; Police; Government of Belize Press Office; and the leadership teams in the nine municipalities. Also, with the unconditional support of the Caribbean Development Bank Team, Ms. Mavis Johnson, International Road Safety Consultant, Canadian Traffic Safety Institute, Vancouver, and all our international consultants who contributed to this process.
The vision for this project continues through an integrated and comprehensive approach along the pilot safety corridor, together with demonstrated respect among all road users, with a target of 20% reduction in the frequency and severity of traffic collisions by 2018.
The ongoing “battle” to prevent needless death through all initiative including behavioral change for factors such as drinking and driving, speeding, texting and driving, overtaking on curves, overtaking on double solid lines or unsafe places, or not wearing seatbelts and helmets continues. Belize is proud to receive the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award.