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$25-m motorcycle simulation centre for Westmoreland

By February 22, 2020General Posts

Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang

GRANGE HILL, Westmoreland — Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang says the Government is constructing a motorcycle simulation centre in Westmoreland at a cost of $25 million.

The facility is expected to begin accepting students by the end of next month and each batch of students will receive training for three months. On successful completion of the programme, which is aimed at saving lives, each participant will be given a certificate, driver’s licence and helmet.

Dr Chang said bikers are eager to get into the programme, but he was unable to provide details on the numbers expected to be enrolled.

“They are dying, that is the reality. They are crashing every day, so, anything to improve their skill set [will be good]. You are talking about improving their riding skills, getting them to know the road code and at the same time, teaching them some skills on how to maintain the bikes. And we will give them helmets to begin to introduce some behavioural changes that will hopefully be maintained long term,” he explained.

“Most of the guys who don’t wear helmets, they ride without shoes. They ride almost [in] T-shirts and shorts. So when they crash, the chances of them surviving are very, very low, and when they survive, they are physically challenged for the rest of their lives,” added the minister, who is also a medical doctor.

The bike riders’ vocational training facility, which is currently being constructed on the grounds of Petersfield Vocational Training Centre in the parish, will offer first class training in the driving of motor bikes, as well as classes on their care and maintenance.

According to Dr Chang, the programme forms part of the Government’s offering to divert young men from a life of crime. It is similar to an articulated truck simulator programme currently being implemented in St James and Kingston.=

With 44 deaths in 2019, Westmoreland recorded the highest number of the 119 road fatalities that year for the Area One Police Division, which also includes the parishes of Trelawny, Hanover, and St James.