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LETTER OF THE DAY - Traffic ticket amnesty sends wrong message

Published:Friday | April 20, 2012 | 12:00 AM


There's a popular Jamaican saying that 'every mickle mek a muckle'. Then there is the tried and trusted 'one one cocoa full basket'. What our forefathers were saying when they coined those phrases is that the little done today accumulates to a lot tomorrow.

It has been the culture of Jamaica to excuse small infractions, not realising that a dangerous precedent is set when this is done. It fosters the mindset that if one deed goes unpunished, other ones might.

It is unacceptable that perpetrators of so-called 'small offences' are given a slap on the wrist. They will think nothing of repeating said offence and may even test the waters and try something bigger.

As if that isn't bad enough, a bill has been brought to Parliament by our elected representatives, the legislature of the land, seeking to grant an amnesty to motorists who broke the law. These are the very motorists who disrespected the judiciary by not appearing in court when they were summoned.

Undoing cops' efforts

It's one thing to have fines on the books for crimes that my five-year-old son can pay with his lunch money. It is a whole different ball game when the legislature seeks to undo the hard work done by our policemen and policewomen in catching and prosecuting motorists who break the law with impunity.

What message is the Parliament trying to send? That the very law passed in its chambers is so whimsical it can be bent and subject to change at will? And what of our police force? How should they feel about prosecuting motorists who continue to operate vehicles in a manner dangerous to the health and safety of other commuters?

The world is built on precedent. We ought to be filling our basket of state with one good precedent after another.