Barbados pastor Victor Roach dies

Pastor Victor Roach

Pastor Victor Roach has passed.

The anti-tobacco advocate passed away yesterday at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He had been ailing for some time.

Roach, who was former president of the National Committee for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Dependency (NCPADD), was a strong voice protesting the sale of tobacco to minors and smoking in public places.

In addition to NCPADD, Roach also was known for his work in the region at the International Commission for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency.

“The fight against drugs is the fight against health problems, crime, poverty and human rights; and the extent to which we are able to do battle with drugs is the extent to which we can alleviate a number of burdens to the resources of our economies, and the productivity of the people in the region,” he said in an interview with The Nation.

Back in 2007, Roach spearheaded a campaign for the introduction of breathalyser testing. The Coalition For the Adoption of Breathalyser, which fell under NCPADD, collected 40 000 signatures at the time and he believed it should have been included in the Road Traffic Act, which had been amended the previous year.

The pastor said recommendations were made to then Minister of Public Works and Transport, Gline Clarke, and was hopeful it would have been introduced later that year. He argued drinking and driving was a serious issue, especially around Christmas, Easter and Crop Over, and contributed to road fatalities. He opposed the legalisation of marijuana and called for a Drug Court.

As his health failed, Roach faded from the national spotlight, but said he was glad others had taken up the fight.

He lived at a senior citizen’s home in St James for a time and received assistance from the local chapter of the University of the Southern Community Alumni Association, of which he was a member.