Parking pressure and the wrecker
Tuesday, July 10 2012
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HUMAN ATLAS: UNDP resident coordinator Dr Marcia De Castro (left), Permanent Secretary in the Planning Ministry Arlene Mc Comie (second from left), Ce...
THE EDITOR: Allow me the privilege to share with our readers some experiences that I had in downtown Port-of-Spain recently.
While driving along Broadway I remembered that I left my other cellphone charging at the workplace. Fearing that the phone may be picked up by someone else, I decided to call the office but realising that I could not remember the new numbers and not having hands-free I pulled to the side of the road behind another vehicle. Suddenly a police officer alighted from in front the other vehicle whose driver was apparently being charged for an offence. He enquired why I had pulled aside and proceeded to charge me also for a parking violation of $1,000.
I thought that I had done the safe thing by pulling aside and not obstructing the free flow of traffic. After all this was on the day after the public holiday December 27 2011 at about 1.30 pm. School was on vacation and there was little traffic. So much for the Christmas season and the spirit of the season. I decided to contest the ticket in the traffic court because I couldn’t raise a thousand dollars so soon after the Christmas holidays.
After attending court on the second occasion, the magistrate read the definition of the law of no parking from the law book to another offender. I considered what it would cost for the services of a lawyer. I thought that I may take a lawyer and still be found guilty. I changed my plea to guilty and was told to pay the same fine immediately.
On Friday June 29, 2012 at about 12.10 pm I parked my vehicle on Phillip Street, Port-of- Spain and proceeded to WASA, Kew Place, to pay a bill. When I returned about an hour and a half later I discovered that the vehicle was missing. Immediately it occurred to me that the vehicle was stolen because the former Minister of Works and Infrastructure, the Honourable Jack Warner had promised the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) that wrecking will be suspended until parking space could be found in the city.
My fears were short-lived after I was told that a wrecker was seen in the area earlier. I went up to the savannah and then called an officer at Traffic Branch, Sea Lots who informed me that they were not wrecking but I can check with the Woodbrook Police Station. I was directed to a parking lot between Methuen and Colville Streets operated by the Port-of-Spain City Police and paid the $500 fine. Does this also mean that the police and traffic wardens have been instructed to desist from issuing parking violation tickets in downtown? Is this legal? Can the Commissioner of Police please tell us?
I do not have a problem with suffering the consequences of my action as it applies to observing the rule of law. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. What I take issue with is the facilitating of breaking the law by the authorities whether it be vending on the streets which is illegal but you can pay a fee to vend legally. You can work PH illegally in full view of the police and ply for hire on the PH stands opposite the PTSC hub on South Quay, Flow on Abercromby Street, or Independence Square East between Frederick and Henry Streets, Port-of -Spain.
If we are to progress as a nation there must be zero tolerance on law enforcement!
Secretary, TT Taxi Drivers’ Network