Drivers3506 27 Jun, 2012
Ms. Shadick: Thank you Mr. Speaker. As I stand I cannot help but say that the Hon. Member Mr. Basil Williams was trying to draw somebody into his frolic. I will not be so drawn.
The Bill before this House has nothing to do with service commissions. It has nothing to do with all kinds of things. What it has to do with is drivers – and I am not a driver; I do not drive so I do not get tickets - who get these tickets, notices according to the Criminal Law Procedure Act, that set out an offence one may have committed, a penalty that offence carries, and tells one he could pay that penalty within seven days or attend court on a date which is not less than fourteen days after the ticket was issued. There was some kind of disconnect between the issuance of the ticket and those who decide, “Well, I will just throw it one side”. And they either keep it in the car under the seat or take it and throw it out. This Bill, to my mind, is trying to correct that little opening that was left - so that people like my Hon. friend Mr. Williams, who may or may not have been issued tickets, and may or may not have paid them - to make sure there is some procedure that has to be followed, and that people be held accountable for the procedure that has to be followed
The first part of the Bill holds the officers of the law accountable for making sure when one issues a ticket it is reported to the police station and a copy also given to the magistrate’s court. There are two places involved, one either goes to the police station and pays the stipulated sum within seven days, or one goes to the court on the date stated on that notice. So both places have to be so notified. The Police Procedure Act, section 4, says:
“The policeman who neglects, or within good and sufficient cause omits to carry out promptly and diligently anything which is his duty as a member of the force”
It would become the duty of the policeman to give copies of that ticket to the two places that have to deal with it so there is a trail that can be followed, and so that drivers would not be collecting these tickets and treating them like pieces of spare paper.
I heard my Hon. friend said that Government wants to collect some money. Well it is every government’s business to collect revenues from wherever it can. Revenues are what help to run one’s country. Wherever one has to, one has to collect revenue. One does not allow a few who think they are smarter to get away with breaking the law. Everyone who commits an offence should pay the penalty. Every government raises revenue, and this Government does not lack in that regard.
However, what I find very heartening in this piece of legislation is that there are two sets of people: the law officers who give the ticket and have now a responsibility to give it to the police stations and to the clerks of the court, and the drivers themselves who have the responsibility to either pay the ticket or to appear in court to defend what they have done. They may say, “I plead not guilty to this offence” and defend. This legislation holds two sets of people accountable and gives penalties to those people for not doing what they are supposed to do.
This is a piece of legislation that is needed. To talk about holistic and so on one has to bring in legislation as the need is seen. This here is a simple piece of legislation but it is a necessary piece of legislation. It is very necessary at this point in time because we must have discipline in our society and discipline among road users. There are so many things happening on the roads. There is a list of offences, and I understood my Hon. friend to be saying this is a list that should be expanded. He went to the Criminal Law Offences Act and gave other offences that could be ticketed. Well, the Minister by order can probably expand on this list, but right now we have a list of 36 offences.
What I am hoping this legislation will help is the situation where every time somebody commits an offence against the law and is stopped by a traffic policeman that the traffic policeman does not have to say drive to Brickdam or drive to this police station and the person has to sit there for so long. The ticket must be issued and that ticketing system must work. That is what this Bill is trying to cause to happen. It will save the many man hours that someone has to take to drive to a police station and then wait there until a senior officer comes. Or, the officer who stopped the person on the road does not come until 4.00 p.m. after stopping him at 9.00 am. The person has to lose a whole day waiting to get such a ticket. This is something that should help save time and in that way also save money because time is money. Not necessarily money in Government’s hand but money in the drivers hands because they have work to do. It will also save congestion at all the police stations when a whole set of drivers are sent there and then this lone officer comes in afterwards to check on them all. Then some officer after so many hours gets disgusted and says, “You all go home.” It does not help anybody.
So we do not have to disseminate and digress. I am very happy that my Hon. friend Mr. Ramjattan said what he said because for this piece of legislation to work everybody has to accept his or her responsibility. I am hoping that the driving members of the public acquaint themselves of the now list of offences that can be ticketed so when an officer stops them and says you have to go to the station they can say give me a ticket because this is one of the offences for which you can give me a ticket. So drivers can save time and those officers are so trained.
I am kind of glad that Mr. Felix is no longer leading because he seems to think that they should not be doing some of the things they are doing. I am hoping the leaders of the Force will encourage their officers to give tickets where tickets can be given so the wheels of justice can run smoothly and we can have a little more discipline.
Mr. Speaker with those few words, I commend this Bill for second reading.
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