The primary responsibility of Government is to provide safety and security to its people.
Today we do not build walls to keep out invaders because walls can be scaled, and tunnels are made under walls……
[Oh wait I spoke too soon]. I meant to say that smart leaders do not do that. I forgot that some still believe that hiding behind walls is a great defensive mechanism.
But I digress…
The security nations provide for their citizens is not confined to keeping the peace with hostile neighbors, it includes protecting the population from threats foreign and domestic.
When the domestic threat assessment is dissected, Government must make decisions to protect the population not just from those who would willfully cause harm but from those who would recklessly and carelessly cause harm to others as well.
That is why I support the Government’s attempt at the restructuring of the Road Traffic Act.
The Road Traffic Act of 2018 was passed in the House of Representatives but was stalled in the Senate because of concerns raised by the Jamaica Association of Transport Owners.
The bill has been stalled in the Senate and according to Ruel Reid who was acting as leader of government business, the proposed legislation will be considered at a “later date”.
The reason Reid gave for the delay is that the Government wanted time to listen to the concerns of the public transportation operators and to provide clarification.
“We are not in a dictatorship, we are in a democracy, and so we will value our important stakeholders.”
There is so much wrong with all this but here is the thing.
Why would a bill be passed in the lower house without hearings and debate on the bill?
Hasn’t the ill-advised INDECOM Act taught these parliamentarians anything?
How in God’s name can a legislative body pass a meaningful bill without hearing from stakeholders, looking at data, and seeing how all of the information fits into the strategic goals of the government?
The much needed Road Traffic Act is long overdue, it will replace an archaic and outdated law which has no real teeth and does not provide the level of protection the public need today.
The transport lobby which is a highly vocal, highly disorganized and highly disruptive loosely-knit body should be heard in this, but their point of view as it relates to penalties should not hold any sway.
We simply cannot have the inmates running the asylum any longer.
The need for an updated Road Traffic law was made necessary by the very same members of the aforementioned undisciplined Transport sector. the carnage on the roads, from unlicensed taxi-cabs, dark-tinted cabs overtaking at dangerous points where such activities
The Government must bring this disruptive sector to heel.
Not only has this sector refused to obey the laws they have engaged in terrorist acts against the state’s buses by throwing rocks into the windows and setting them alight.
The Government cannot allow the very same people who necessitated the new law in the first place to determine what the penalties should be for their transgressions and utter disdain for the rule of law.
We simply cannot continue to have the law-breakers to have a say in what kind of penalty is meted out to them the law-breakers.
If there are any [irrationality] in the bill which needs fixing, that should be done.
However, under no circumstances should the lawless transport sector and their taxi-operators, many of whom are hardcore criminals, have a say in the penalties that are in the proposed law.
Good governance is about consensus, it is not about bowing down to a lobby as a previous administration did in the lead up to the (INDECOM Act).
This law is still undergoing work and has demonstrably cost countless lives and innumerable heartache thus far.
It is important that the Government get this one right and not screw up as a previous administration has on (INDECOM).
A government must lead from the front regardless of popular perceptions.
It cannot be about spitting on one’s finger and seeing where the wind blows.