(CMR) Minister for Tourism and Transport, Hon. Kenneth Bryan expressed satisfaction after his recent trip to Barbados for the International Roads Federation (IRF) Caribbean Regional Congress, 7th – 10th June, declaring it was both productive and informative.
“We have identified many options available through a review of the Barbados transportation network, and this was a great opportunity to develop relationships and study what other jurisdictions are doing with respect to implementing sustainable transportation systems,” the Minister said.
“By attending conferences like the IRF, and meeting with the relevant government officials we can gain a more complete understanding of best practices and proven operations from countries around the region, and bring that strategic thinking into development here in the Cayman Islands,” he explained.
One such positive opportunity to partner came in meeting with Minister Bryan's counterpart, Hon. Santia Bradshaw, Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Transport, Works, and Water Resources (Barbados) to commit to further relationship building between the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the region.
“I will be following up with Minister Bradshaw over the coming days to discuss potential partnership opportunities to assist in Cayman's development of its transportation system,” said Mr. Bryan.
While attending the conference Minister Bryan and senior officials from his Ministry were also able to carry out an investigative tour examining various aspects of that island's transportation infrastructure.
Chief Officer Stran Bodden and Director of Tourism Rosa Harris (current chair of the Public Transport Board), along with Kim Ramoon, the Senior Public Transport Inspector, accompanied Minister Bryan on the tour, which included the Barbados Transport Board, select terminal facilities, and a review of electric vehicles within Bridgetown's bus fleet.
“This preliminary research is to identify what the Cayman Islands could achieve when revamping our transport system,” said Mr. Bryan.
Mr. Bryan previously embarked on a similar fact-finding mission while visiting the Bahamas in March to also gain a clear understanding of that country's approach to its transport systems.
“We don't need to recreate the proverbial wheel; by seeing first-hand what other small island states are doing, we can attain a clearer vision of what we can do as it relates to transport safety while catering to sustainable practices and future growth,” he added.
Minister Bryan was also a panelist for the Ministerial Session at the conference, where he and his peers discussed the topic of Addressing the Challenges of Road Safety. The panel provided an overview of some common road safety challenges facing the Caribbean region, as well as the road safety efforts underway to meet those challenges.
“We have to continue to educate our people on technology; it has to be a key component of the future solutions in respect to road safety and transportation,” he offered while further encouraging regional partnerships through the creation of a legislative and regulatory review committee that would focus on information sharing.
On the heels of the recent announcement that the Cayman Islands will be hosting the Caribbean Tourism Organization's (CTO) conference in September, the delegation convened a meeting with CTO Secretary General Neil Walters and Membership Director Faye Gill to discuss plans for the upcoming event.