I salute GPF for implementing Operation Safe Roads

first_imgDear Editor,Whenever human lives and limbs are in constant peril on our roads, as is the present situation in Guyana, the Guyana Police Force, working in tandem with other stakeholders including Magistrates and Judges, shall take holistic and extraordinary measures to bring the sad state of affairs under control.However, in doing so their actions must fit nicely within the ambit of the law in order to avoid trampling on the rights of citizens.Flashback! When New York Mayor Rudy William Luis Giuliani and Chief of Police Robert Larry Bratton conducted their CompStat brand of policing with a zero-tolerance bias, crime was reduced to an unprecedented level. On the flip side of things, the city paid out more money than any other period of time to citizens who filed litigations and lawsuits against the city for infringing their basic human rights.Fast-forward! In relation to the current unacceptable traffic lawlessness, the police launched Operation Safe Roads in an effort to bring back sanity to our roadways. Among other tactics, they recently targeted a minibus driver and a conductor who were seen in a video that went viral committing numerous unbelievable breaches of the traffic laws that endangered their lives and that of other road users.According to a daily newspaper, the men – Trevor Bobb-Semple, the minibus driver and his conductor Jermaine Waldron – were charged and appeared before Magistrate Fabaya Azore at the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court. The conductor pleaded guilty to the charges of failing to ensure passengers’ safety and being an untidy conductor. He was fined $40,000.The driver was charged with the following offences: driving a tinted motor vehicle, being an untidy driver, failing to have control of the motor vehicle, breach of conduct of road service licence and dangerous driving. According to the newspaper article, the driver pleaded not guilty to the charges and was placed on $100,000 bail. Believe it or not, the Magistrate suspended the driver’s licence pending the determination of the cases. Let me be pellucid. I hold no brief for the driver, but I perused the laws of Guyana. I did not find any law that empowered the Magistrate to suspend the driver’s licence. Please edify me if I missed the law. Is it that the reporter incorrectly posited that the Magistrate suspended the licence of the driver of the motor vehicle? I have not seen or heard any retraction in the media about the suspension of the driver’s licence.My layman’s knowledge is that a Magistrate has the power to suspend the driver’s licence of a person charged with causing death by dangerous driving pending the determination of the charge but not for dangerous driving or the other charges alluded to. If the Magistrate had, in fact, suspended the driver’s licence that act was a grave miscarriage of justice.The charges of causing death by dangerous driving and dangerous driving are miles apart. They are far apart as Imbotero on the northern tip of Guyana is from Aishalton on the deep south and Orealla on the east is from Kaikan on the west.I salute the police for implementing Operation Safe Roads to bring back sanity on our roads. I have not yet seen their plan of action, but persons with vast experience in traffic management who l have had conservations with on the plan inform me that it will bear fruits as green shoots are already emerging. I trust their judgement. I, however, hasten to let the law enforcement officers and their stakeholders be aware that as they enforce, enforce, enforce with zero tolerance the rule of law and the rules of engagement must prevail. This will prevent them from taking precipitative and ill-advised actions.To do otherwise will open the floodgates for law enforcement officers to commit serious breaches of the citizens’ human rights. I trust the police to be professional.Best wishes to the police for a successful Operation Safe Roads.Yours respectfully,Clinton ConwayAssistant Commissionerof Police (Retired)last_img read more