Immoral to charge motorists for driver's record

Thursday, March 28, 2013

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ONE of the awful tendencies that all Jamaican governments have in common is to let things slip so badly that they have to resort to desperate measures to regain control. It's the telltale sign of an inept government.

A blatant example is the proposal recently announced by none other than the colourful Senior Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis.

Mr Lewis used a service club venue to inform the nation that, in order to trap motorists who have outstanding traffic tickets or warrants, all motorists or owners of motor vehicles will be required to get a driver's record from Traffic Police headquarters before their driver's licence or their registration can be renewed.

It might have been possible to accept this as a desperate measure caused by desperate circumstances. But SSP Lewis went on to inform us that the motorists would have to pay for the driver's record!

Such a decision could only have come from a Government which is uncaring, and one which has given up on any attempt to find and catch people who are breaking the law.

We say uncaring because, in a time of such economic hardship, how could any caring Government, which understands the suffering of the people, decide to place more financial burden on them? Especially one of such a flippant nature.

Once again, we see that the good is being asked to suffer for the bad, and that those who play by the rules are to get shafted. There is no good reason why motorists who either pay their traffic tickets or who have never received a traffic ticket, and have no outstanding warrants, or have ever been issued a warrant, should be asked to pay for a driver's record.

We are left to wonder if this new measure is just another tax meant to squeeze money out of our already over-taxed citizens. If this is so, the Government should 'man' up and announce it as such.

It is the duty of the Government to design measures to catch those who are guilty. Throwing out a wide net in the hope of catching law-breakers is never going to work.

What this new measure will most certainly achieve is greater corruption in the traffic system, as guilty motorists pay corruptible public officers to acquire a clean driver's record. That money will therefore not end up in State coffers but in the pockets of those officers.

One would think that we would have learnt the lesson by now. We need not look any further than the business of acquiring a driver's licence in Jamaica. So corrupt has the system been that persons who cannot even read or write are able to get licences to drive on our roads.

In addition, there are persons who are unwilling to spend the time necessary to get government documents, who have no qualms about paying to circumvent any system.

This driver's record plan has clearly not been well thought out. The Government needs to go back to the drawing board.




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