Letters to the Editor

Government needs to grow some

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Every time the present Government takes a stand in the interest of the country and there's a pushback from that industry's special interest groups the Government caves in like a wet cardboard box. Just look at the recent example of the dispute with the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association over imported refined sugar; no further proof is needed.

Stevie Wonder could see that there's an ample supply of this commodity throughout the country, where's the sugar coming from? The last time I checked there was no refinery on the island. The only thing I can see in their defence is that we're talking about two different types of sugar. And I would suppose they would attract different markets and at a different price range. And since the island doesn't produce this type of sugar I think the duty is much too high. The sensible solution is to build a state-of-the art sugar refinery.

Another example, is the pending Road Traffic Act, which is long over due. The two 'Mickey Mouse' organisations which represent the route taxis operators are so naive to think that the Act is geared towards them exclusively. Probably it should, because they are the ones who are creating havoc on the country's streets. So their recent withdrawal of service was good; for the country's street were much safer. In addition to lewd music, they shouldn't be allowed to transport our nation's children to school. At any given day, or even night, take a trip to the transport centre in Half-Way-Tree and see the mayhem and chaos these taxis cause. Not even the police who congregate there seem to have much control over the situation.

As we all know, they're not enough police to go around. So the traffic cameras are quite necessary. This is an international phenomenon; besides, one cannot bribe technology. For starters, no police officers should be allowed to own taxis, because this is a stark conflict of interest. And yes, where the drivers of these taxis, after committing a traffic infraction, cannot be identified the owners should be liable. The only adjustment that should be made is that the owners should be able to recoup the fines they pay on behalf of their drivers — from the drivers themselves.

The amendment that a driver should be required to produce a driver's licence when stopped by the police should be immediately reinstated. A driver's license is a form of national identification and should be carried at all times. The owners, too, should make sure they hire licensed drivers to operate their taxis. If not, they should also be liable if such drivers meet in serious accidents. It has been reported that after a prolonged amnesty over 488,000 traffic tickets are still outstanding. The solution, therefore, is quite simple, those tickets should continue to accrue interest and penalties, and those respective drivers should have their licences suspended.

I guess these are all signs of the times. Jamaicans, on a whole, it seems, do not like to obey law and order.

Noel Mitchell

Westchester, New York, USA


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