Summary Jurisdiction (Procedure) (Amendment) Bill 20133523 16 Jan, 2014
Mr. Rohee: Mr. Speaker, I want to again say that when this came the last time in June, 2012, the Hansard recorded what I had to say on the matter. Sufficed to say, if one were to examine many of the motions brought to this House by A Partnership for National Unity and some of the questions put by APNU, one would see a common trend which is that these motions and questions infringe or impact on the humanitarian side of the issues which APNU picked up while it’s members were walking in the fields. I do not see that as unusual because obviously, as politicians, when we go out in the fields, we listen to people’s problems and we try to find ways of addressing them.
In the same way, when we on this side of the House go out in the fields and meet people, they would ask questions: why are we not allowed to pay tickets in the magisterial district where the offence was committed? And the other one, which I think is a little impossible to do, is: why not reduce the fines?
My answer to the first one is yes, I see the need for us to amend the legislation to facilitate the charge on the tickets being paid in the magisterial district where the offence was committed because this is obviously an easement on the individual cost-wise and time-wise.
In respect to the reduction of the fines, I do not agree with this proposition because it would lead to more abuse. People will say, “I will pay $500 easily and just get away with it.” After all, people have a right to ask for these things; it depends on how we respond to them.
Yes, I take the point that the Hon. Member made about the carnage on the roads. In fact, recently, I read an APNU press release after a press conference was held where a number of recommendations were made. Coincidentally, at that point in time, we had already planned a meeting of the stakeholders and those recommendations happened to coincide with the time the meeting was held and those recommendations were taken into consideration; the Hon. Minister Benn was present at that meeting. Among the recommendations that were taken into account, apart from those from APNU, were those coming from stakeholders to address precisely the problems which the Hon. Member, Mr. B. Williams, referred to.
We have taken concrete measures. We have farmed out the decisions and recommendations of the various Government agencies and departments, including the Guyana Police Force, for them to deal with those recommendations, depending on the availability of the resources, et cetera. But they have that responsibility now and I am going to be monitoring to ensure that those recommendations are fulfilled at the level best.
In addition to that, one of the major decisions that came out of that meeting was to convene a national conference on road safety sometime early this year to which we will be working assiduously to realise.
Mr. Speaker, I think that the amendment to the Act through this Bill is timely; it is needed in the country. The amendment has a dual purpose: one is to raise revenues and the other is to ensure that the persons who commit offences honour their obligations. And for us to ensure that they do so in a timely fashion, we have to put mechanisms in place to be able to electronically track persons who engage in this kind of deviant behaviour so as to ensure that they fulfil the legal obligation, which is to pay the fine. We have put in place the necessary technological hardware and software, created a wide area network among the Clerk of Courts, the Police Stations and so on so that it could easily be traced to see whether these fines were paid.
I believe it is something that is very much needed in the country. I am happy there is total unanimity on the subject and I believe this will be sending a strong signal to our country and the people who, on one hand, want to see road safety being supported by the entire parliament and, at the same time, want to see those who engage in deviant behaviour, not paying what is due to the state, also fall in line in keeping with this amendment that is before us.
I, therefore, support the amendment, Mr. Speaker. [Applause]
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