Boyd: Unpaid fines should result in restriction of govt services
Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd has suggested that there be restrictions for individuals seeking government services if they have outstanding traffic tickets or warrants of any kind.
The Bishop said the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, 2018, that was tabled in the House of Assembly last month, should go beyond what has been proposed.
The bill seeks to criminalize the use of cell phones and other electronic communication devices while driving, along with making it illegal to drive with open alcoholic beverages. The bill would also require the payment of outstanding fines in respect of traffic offenses before the granting of a driver’s license or a public service driver’s license.
“We were intrigued by the provision in the proposed legislation that persons with outstanding traffic tickets would not be given renewal of their driver’s licenses. Thousands of unserved and outstanding warrants languish in bailiff’s offices, so is there any good reason why this same restriction cannot be placed on persons with outstanding warrants for matters other than traffic violations?” he said while speaking at the Anglican Synod Monday night at Christ Church Cathedral.
“With all the technology at our fingertips, notice of all outstanding warrants should be widely disseminated to all government and quasi-government departments, that would be empowered to withhold goods and services from such persons.
“In other words, outstanding warrant or traffic tickets means no passport, no NIB services, no driver’s or car license. This is how it is done in many other countries.”
Boyd also called on the government to invest in technology that would allow the license discs of motorists who have run red lights to be recorded.
“The running of red lights is the most visible sign of the breakdown of law and order in the country. The new license discs are electronically tied into the central system. How long is it going to take us to have all of our traffic signals being able to electronically detect such violations? The technology is available. Let us move in this direction as soon as we can,” he said.
“I accept that it is an expensive venture, but the lives lost and injuries inflicted are even more expensive on families, the community and the public purse. Too many accidents, some fatal, are occurring because persons are flagrantly violating traffic laws, especially the running of red lights.”
The bishop also addressed the state of the economy and the personal finances of Bahamians during his Synod address. He blamed web shops for the financial strain of Bahamians.
“Speaking of financial strain, we continue to lament the devastating effect that the legalized number business has all over The Bahamas. But this is felt especially in our Family Islands, where thousands of dollars are sucked out of these small communities every week with no return or value added to those communities,” he said.
“Now, people make choices and we cannot tell them what to do with their money, but this is devastating our small communities, as it is devastating on the whole country.”