Mon | Sep 27, 2021

Three strikes and you’re out!

Traffic chief wants vehicle forfeiture power against repeat offenders

Published:Tuesday | July 27, 2021 | 12:09 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer
Senior Superintendent of Police Gary McKenzie (centre), head of the Police Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, addresses a meeting of the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS) at Half-Way Tree Primary School on Sunday. He is flank
Senior Superintendent of Police Gary McKenzie (centre), head of the Police Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, addresses a meeting of the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services (TODSS) at Half-Way Tree Primary School on Sunday. He is flanked by Egeton Newman (left), president of TODSS, and police Inspector Alison Grant Johnson.

Rogue transport operators whose unlicensed vehicles have had to be seized multiple times by the police should have their property forfeited to the State.

That’s a recommendation by Senior Superintendent of Police Gary McKenzie, head of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch that oversees traffic and public order.

The traffic chief is minded to have a three-strikes-and-you’re-out law against repeat offenders.

“We can’t have vehicles being seized one, two, three up to seven times and the owners or operators don’t have any intention of regularising them, and it’s out there every day operating. It can’t be like that,” McKenzie emphasised.

He said the Ministry of Transport has now made the granting of PPV licences more efficient, including undertaking issuance in the regions where stakeholders operate.

McKenzie has warned taxi and bus operators, as well as other motorists, to reform their driving behaviour and pay up outstanding traffic tickets before it’s too late.

“What I want to say to you, don’t let it catch you off guard, because already some things are coming in place even before the act is fully functional,” McKenzie revealed while addressing Sunday’s Blue Ribbon first responders training and certification session for public transport operators at Half-Way Tree Primary School.

“You have some people driving out there with over a thousand tickets. Encourage them to pay up before this act fully comes on stream, because we are going fully electronic with the issuance of tickets and it will be something very different from the paper-based ticketing system,” he said, addressing participants in the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services and British Caribbean Insurance Company-sponsored training seminar.

McKenzie reminded the transport stakeholders that the new Road Traffic Act will give the police the power of seizure for driving without insurance coverage. That condition is not supported by the current legislation.

Meanwhile, president of the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services, Egeton Newman, said that his organisation is calling for an amnesty despite Government’s indications that no waivers will be allowed for outstanding traffic tickets.

“Over the past four years, the Government, the courts, the tax offices and the traffic department have agreed that several of these tickets are either wrongfully executed, or honoured and returned as unpaid. If it is so, it is, therefore, clear that the Government should do the honourable thing and wipe the record and start fresh,” Newman said.