Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Letter of the Day | Hold off on seizures, fines for expired documents

Published:Wednesday | April 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM


An item on the Monday night news caught my attention. That's because I have been thinking about it for several years. It has to do with the seizure of motor vehicles and keeping them impounded until the owner is able to pay a variety of fines and other charges.

It is my view that no uninsured vehicle should be on our roads. I am wondering, however, whether persons found in violation of any law could not be given an opportunity to take immediate steps to remedy the situation before moving on to other options. One reason for taking this position is that the following morning, I checked my documents, and to my absolute shock and horror, found that everything had expired. It was never my intention to break the law. I just forgot. Had I been caught, I would have had to spend thousands of dollars in fines and fees to put my life back on track.

We are made to understand that a large number of these vehicles are to be auctioned soon. For many of these owners, the purchase of that vehicle was the most significant investment they have ever made. Many used their severance pay to make these purchases, as they were really not qualified to find another job. I think it is safe to say that persons who are unable to retrieve their vehicle are struggling financially. How does this procedure help anyone? Who benefits from taking away people's livelihood and putting it somewhere to rot?




A young lady told me once that in 2010, she was getting ready to take her CXC exams. Times were hard, but her father gave her an assurance that "... if mi haffi sleep pan di road, mi nah stop hustle till me mek di money fi you ... ." Hours later, she claims, he returned on foot - a defeated man. The vehicle had been impounded. She further claims that Friday marked the end of any formal education for herself and her two younger siblings.

I am not suggesting that anybody be given a 'bly'. But can there be a way to make the punishment be less destructive? Can violators be hit in the pocket instead of on the head? What would be wrong with imposing fines and giving these persons a set time to pay? The plates could be removed and returned when the offending act or omission is remedied.

Something tells me that whenever we start to focus less on punishment and more on productivity, we are going to start making some really good decisions.