By PISAI GUMAR
MOROBE Provincial Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Peter Guinness yesterday fired a broadside at the national government agencies responsible for road maintenance to fix potholes. “Pot holes are no longer a joke – not when 40 people have died,” Mr Guinness said on Wednesday, in the wake of Papua New Guinea’s worst road traffic tragedy on Tuesday afternoon in the Markham Valley. Mr Guinness was devastated when he toured the scene of the twin PMV bus collision that happened when a driver avoided a pothole. He said the agencies responsible should maintain the roads or more lives would continue to be lost. Their negligence would also cost them millions of kina to pay motor vehicle owners and the victims who would claim insurance from the Motor Vehicle Insurance – a government agency, he said. “The National Government’s political and bureaucratic heads right down to the provincial level have to collectively solve not only the pothole issue but sea and air services as well,” he said. “Road, air and sea transport’s infrastructure are systems that will be used for the country’s development,” he said. He said as vehicle owners and drivers blame the government for bad road conditions, the National Road Safety Council and the police road traffic division “tirelessly work around the clock to educate the drivers”. Their efforts are hampered by the attitudes of drivers. “Drivers within the city and highways were too careless and ignorant,” he said. “They think that it is their private road and give no care to human lives sitting in the vehicle.” The National Road Safety Council’s executive director, Frank Aku was equally devastated. “It’s very devastating to record such a magnitude of fatalities … this should not have happened,” Mr Aku said. Mr Aku, who had thought that the recent Hiritano crash would be the worst, was shocked at the news of the Markham crash. “Something critical has to be done to avoid future accidents,” said Mr Aku yesterday, on the eve of his departure to Lae to visit the accident site at Ragiampum village to investigate.