We must enforce laws of the land
As children, growing-up in T&T, during the 40s, 50s and even into the 60s, our parents always taught us that "the things that you do at home are the things that you would do when you are outside of the home." During the 1970s, I passed on this lesson to my children.
As the 20th century ended, however, it became apparent that this lesson was either no longer important; or no longer taught to children.
During recent visits, as I travelled the country of my birth, I have often heard Trinis say, in response to certain incidents that — "something like this would never happen in the US, or Canada, or Great Britain." Why would this be so? The simple reason, I assume, is that the underlying behaviour which causes such incidents is often tolerated in T&T, but would not be tolerated in the US, or Canada, or the UK.
I currently live on the left-hand side of a two-way street in Fairfax, Virginia. One morning, my daughter was on her way to work when she realised she had forgotten something at home. She returned home and hastily parked her car in front of the house, on the right-hand side of the street. She then went into the house and after retrieving what she had forgotten raced back outside to discover that she had gotten a ticket for parking on the wrong side of the street, since the vehicle was now facing in the opposite direction of the on-coming traffic. This act cost her US$35.
Another example: One Monday morning my daughter was being driven to the airport by her friend who happened to be on her way to school. While travelling on the freeway, a baby who was sitting in the rear threw her feeding bottle out the window. Glancing in the rear-view mirror and seeing the volume of traffic that was behind her, the driver decided not to stop. A short while later, she was pulled over by a state trooper and issued a summons for littering.
If the laws of the land are enforced without fear or favour, it would result in positive behaviour and due respect for law and order. In addition, the penalties for civil offences must be designed for adherence and accountability; and not for generating income or for punishment as they appear to be.
In the US, driving under the influence and texting or talking on a hand-held device while driving are offences that result in a court appearance plus a fine of US$100 to US$300; while parking illegally or driving without a seat-belt results in a summons plus a fine of US$25 to US$75. Further to that, not paying the fine and the related court fees could result in the suspension of one's driving privileges.
I wish the Minister of National Security Jack Warner much success in his new undertaking.
Felix C Bartholomew