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Ministry reports partial success in getting stray animals off the island's highways

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - Officials of the Ministry of Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities are reporting partial success in their latest attempt to deal with the menace of stray animals on the island’s highways. Ministry representatives say the recently launched campaign has suffered a minor setback due to some defaulting cattle owners who seem bent on reversing the process and erasing gains achieved.

According to Deputy Permanent Secretary Dr. Augustin Charles, although the Ministry of Communications and Works has lead responsibility for the reinvigorated campaign, getting the animals off the roads involves close collaboration with other ministries and government agencies responsible for Agriculture, Home Affairs, the Police along with the Attorney General’s office.

Dr. Charles told the GIS, “Initially we started with an education sensitization programme where we brought in the cattle owners. We spoke with them and explained the implications of having stray cattle on the roads. Subsequently we had public service announcements issuing an ultimatum to the cattle owners and we felt that everything was going on quite well.”

Another meeting has been organized for sometime this week where Ministry officials are hoping to drive the point home to cattle owners. Closer attention will also be paid to the existing legislation with the intent of possibly strengthening it.

“Stray cattle on our roads represent a dangerous phenomenon,” says Dr. Charles. He went on, “not too long ago there was an incident in Africa where there was a collision involving stray cattle and six persons died. We need to ask ourselves is that what we really want and do we want to get to that stage ourselves.”

The meeting is being looked at last ditch effort to bring a lasting solution to the problem of stray cattle on the island roads, Ministry officials say cattle owners failing to comply thereafter will feel the full effect of the law.

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