'Sanction them' - Wheelchair user wants action against able-bodied persons who snatch disabled parking
A visit by the Gleaner news team to Sovereign Centre in St Andrew to see if persons with disabilities have easy access to designated parking for them revealed that many able-bodied persons occupied those spaces with impunity.
This reporter quizzed one man driving a Mitsubishi Lancer who parked in the space reserved for the disabled. However, he refused to comment.
Another motorist admitted that he was acting in breach of the visible signs showing the disabled parking. He told The Gleaner that he was rushing into the supermarket and would be out quickly. That speedy errand took the driver of a Toyota Townace more than 10 minutes.
Beryl Green, a wheelchair user, told The Gleaner yesterday that despite designated parking areas for the disabled at Sovereign Centre, many able-bodied persons had shown little or no regard for the disabled. There are five parking spaces for persons with disabilities at the Sovereign Centre.
Green said she had given up visiting the shopping centre on weekends, noting that she could not compete with the able-bodied persons for the parking.
"They should be sanctioned for parking in these facilities. They should be given a fine for parking illegally in the disabled parking (areas) because it is there for the benefit of disabled people, not able-bodied people," Green declared.
A security officer at Sovereign shared with The Gleaner that he was challenged by a man with a knife when he attempted to clamp the wheel of his car which was parked in a space reserved for the disabled. "It's a very big challenge. They don't care," he said.
A serious concern highlighted by a businessman who asked not to be named was the absence of any provision in the Disability Act to deal with parking designated for the disabled and sanctions for breaches.