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The National Road Safety Council (NRSC) is the 2013 recipient of the Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Award, in recognition of its programmes and activities that have resulted in significant reductions in traffic accidents and fatalities across Jamaica.

His Royal Highness, Prince Michael of Kent, presented the award to NRSC Chairperson, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, during the Council’s 20th anniversary commemorative banquet at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on April 17.

Making the presentation, the Prince said Jamaica’s achievement in reducing the incidence of road fatalities is demonstrative of how “effective leadership can make a real difference and save many lives.”

“What the National Road Safety Council has done over 20 years is impressive and serves as an example to other countries, large and small, of how a lead agency should be organized,” he said, in reference to agency’s efforts resulting in a reduction in road fatalities from over 400 per year to under 300 over the period.

“To be truly successful, the lead agency itself needs strong political influence to ensure that governments put in place effective legislations and allocate the appropriate resources to allow for a safe environment for road users. It also needs authority and support from a wide range of government and civil institutions,” the Prince said.

While commending Jamaica’s achievements, he said that “there is still much to be done”. However, he said he took comfort in the re-assurance which he received during his five-day working visit to Jamaica, that road safety “will remain high on the government’s agenda and that the NRSC will continue to receive support from the Prime Minister.”

Noting that 2013 marks 12 years since the introduction of the international award scheme, initiated to recognize outstanding innovation and achievements in road safety, the Prince said the initiative has assisted in generating wider attention and greater support for the work and innovations of the recipients.

In her remarks, NRSC Executive Director, Paula Fletcher, in welcoming the award, said the agency is “re-energized” by the support received, adding that “we re-commit ourselves to the vital goal of saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads.”

Noting that the continued reduction in road fatalities and injuries was a key goal of Jamaica and many other countries, Mrs. Fletcher said the NRSC welcomes the efforts of members, associates, as well as local and international partners towards this end.

“We invite every single person to join in this life-saving drive; the life you save may be your own,” she stressed.

The Prince, who arrived in Jamaica on April 15, departs the island today (April 19). He was a special guest of the NRSC.

By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter