Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
THE LEGAL minds in the nation's Parliament were on Tuesday unable to dispute Opposition Member Everald Warmington's argument that the police are devoid of the legal powers to take on traffic offenders breaching the Road Traffic Act on the country's toll road.
The attorneys on both sides of the divide were uncharacteristically silent as Warmington, the outspoken parliamentarian from Southwestern St Catherine, told his colleagues that the toll road, being privately owned, presented legal roadblocks for law-enforcement officers.
Warmington confronted head-on the substantive debate on a motion to facilitate the installation of tyre-deflation devices on side roads running from toll roads, while other parliamentarians backed away from the issue.
He warned that the police who were regularly on the lookout for errant motorists on the long smooth strip of roadway, are on a collision course with the law.
"If it were a public road, it ought to be gazetted," declared Warmington. "(However), the toll road is a private road, which was never gazetted, yet you have the police on that road each time with speed traps and issuing tickets ... they have no such authority."
Warmington told Parliament that he was confronted by a group of police on the road, but forced them to apply the brake. "They stopped me before and I say to the police, they have no authority to ticket me as I am on a private road, until it is gazetted, the issuance of tickets on the highway is illegal," he declared.
The politician, known for his strident rhetoric, suggested that it was within the ambit of the TransJamaican Highway, the owners of the toll road 'so they (the police) need to cease issuing tickets on that road where they have no rights'.
Minister of Transport and Works Dr Omar Davies who piloted the debate on the motion conceded that he was steering clear of a response, but no assistance would be forthcoming from the eminent attorneys sitting in the chamber.
However, no one in the parliamentary chamber disagreed with Davies that the tyre-deflation device being proposed was necessary to prevent loss of lives and property.
He said, over time, the toll road had been plagued by motorists who, in an effort to avoid the toll fees, reverse into slip roads adjoining the toll roads.