Government gets $10 per wheel clamp

| 29/12/2010

(CNS): An FOI request to government by a concerned driver has revealed that the public purse gets only $10 from each wheel-clamping fine taken from people parking on public property. It also revealed that the contract between government and Parking Management Services, the parking firm clamping cars in the George Town Library car park, has lapsed, even though the firm continues to extract money from drivers. The controversial issue of clamping has hit the headlines more than once this year as a result of court cases relating to the issue, as well as a motion raised by one MLA who believes the practise is illegal.

According to the details of the FOI request, which has been released to CNS, the driver asked government for a copy of the contract but the Education Ministry, which responded to the request, said it was unable to supply that document.

“Currently there is no existing contract between Parking Management Services and the Cayman Islands Government, as the parking contract has expired and we are presently revising for renewal proposals,” the government said in its response to the request. It said, however, that it received $10 for each vehicle clamped.

The car park behind the renovated library in the heart of George Town, which is also home to the new bus depot, is often devoid of vehicles while drivers fight for spaces elsewhere in the area as the $85 fine has proved a major deterrent.

The issue of clamping became a political issue when Ezzard Miller, the independent MLA for North Side, tabled a private members motion in the Legislative Assembly in March. Miller suggested that the firms were in some cases charging substantial amounts to drivers who were clamped at premises they were visiting legitimately.

He pointed out that having sufficient parking spaces is related to planning permission and the private parking firms, he believed, did not have the legal right to impose fines or clamp drivers. He suggested the clampers were breaking the Traffic Law, which states that anyone who interferes with a vehicle or any of its controls and equipment without the owner’s permission was guilty of an offence.

Miller told the House he was issuing the advice to victims of clampers parked in premises they were visiting legitimately to call the police and ask them to enforce the Traffic Law 2003 and fine the clamper $1000 or sent them to jail for six months.

The veteran politician said he believed that the parking companies were taking more and more liberties with people on this subject because they were getting away with it and no one was challenging their rights to do this. Asking government to investigate the situation, Miller added that there was a need to clarify the legal position of clients and visitors to commercial establishments and the right to park as required by the Planning Law.

Two cases also went through the courts this year in which the victims of clamping firms opted for Grand Court jury trials. In one case, which was dropped by the prosecution, the wheel clamping firm claimed the defendant had stolen the clamps after he removed them from his own immobilized vehicle and drove off. The driver had deflated his tyres and removed the two clamps, which then went missing, the clamping firm claimed. The case was dropped but the prosecution said the clamping firm had claimed the driver had parked in a fire lane, which, according to the evidence, turned out to be untrue.

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Category: FOI

Comments (16)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I saw the stupidest thing tonight at Fosters Airport. I am convinced that the level of intelligence to be a security guard has got to be way at the bottom of the pool or the act of wheel clamping is solely to generate a revenue stream. A car was parked in one of the disabled spots and left there immobilized with four clamps, one on each wheel for a time determined by whenever the owner is able to come up with the fine. This is stupid to me for a couple of reasons. 1. The vehicle is immobile in a spot meant to be protected and available for disabled drivers. Now they are one down. 2. The vehicle is immobilized and in the event of a fire, whether in the car or the store they would not be able to move it very easily. Wouldn’t it be better to let the driver move it away with a strong telling off rather than take these stupid actions. I’m just saying!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have to wonder, how much of the actual fines are the PM company receiving? How much of that money(cash) makes it back to the office? I insisted on a receipt when i handed over my cash and got a slip of paper from an old receipt book without the company’s stamp. I only got it because I insisted. I suspect that based on the attitude and eagerness to clamp vehicles, the person is probably pocketing a lot of the intake. He just looks the type.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mickey Mouse at it again!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree with everyone who thinks that wheel clamping is illegal, but if we were to look closely at who owns Parking Management we would be very suprised to see that they are in bed with the Government unfortunately we will find that this practice of clamping unsuspected patrons going about the business will continue to go on for a long time as long as the current government is getting something out of it. Just like the Auditor General is looking into the tender process for the CCTV contract so should he look into the wheel clamping process here and we will all be shocked to see how closely the two are related.


  5. Kerry Horek says:

    Whilst I agree with Mr. Miller about requesting the assistance of the Royal Cayman Islands Police dept. to come to your aid when you are clamped and quote the Traffic Law 2003, that’s all well and good, but will they actually do that is another story.  

    When I was clamped for attending Court as a witness and doing my Civic duty as a citizen of this country, the phone response I got from the RCIP was clearly one that stated they couldn’t do anything about it.  I said to the Officer on the phone that my wheels were clamped and I was requesting their assistance to come and have the PM attendant remove them, because they were illegally charging me to park on Crown Land.  During my phone call in the presence of the Parking Mgt. employee whom had informed me I had to pay $85 or the clamps would remain on my car.  This rude man, walks off laughing at me when he heard I was on the phone with the police.

    The Police never showed up, I waited and waited, and no one came, I called again and they assured me that they were not sending anyone to assist me because it was nothing to do with the police dept.  So my question is who has jurisdiction over Crown Land when it comes to disturbing the peace as Parking Management was clearly doing so my disrupting my peaceful parking in a space that belongs to the people of this country.

    So what I am saying is that Mr. Miller you can scream all you want in the house sir, but if you have a police dept. that clearly has no knowledge of the laws of the land and it is more and more apparent that they are not being educated to assist people in these situations you will basically be turning blue in the face waiting for assistance.

    In my years of dealing with the RCIP, they have NEVER once came to my aid and if they did show up (hours later after the fact) it was to threaten and bully me, or lie about my reports I made and still do nothing.

    So I take camera’s and recording devices around with me now and document everything because the RCIP are completely and utterly useless as far as this citizen is concerned.  This will remain the case until we get better management in place with compassion, care and genuine understanding of the laws of the land to assist the general populous.

    Lastly, I have no confidence in the RCIP because my experience is that they use their positions to bully versus assist.

  6. Anonymous says:

    FYI, he is not CO!

    Never the less clamping is unfortunately needed these days!!!

    People don’t observe the Laws,rules and regulations! In example;  not using of indicators in particyular in round abouts, or did we all become mind-readers or what! Obey the Laws and stop b…ing and use the Indicators,

    thank you

    • Caymanian 2 da Bone says:

      Indicators? what are you giong on about? why should I give anyone an idea of the direction I’m going in.

      Indicators are for expats only, after all, these are our roads not theirs

  7. Anonymous fisher man says:

    some time ago i had my vehicle clamped on the side of the road by the police station. i called the company and the man who had put the clamp . i asked why he had clamped my vehicle in such a short time. he told me that the attorney general had told them to clamp any vehicle that was park i that area.i asked to take the clamp off , as there was aparking space available then. he told me that i would have to pay $75 first. i replied to him was .it will be a cold day in hell when you collect that.  i thenn went to the office and asked why  my vehicle was clamped, all they could tell me was that they were acting on instruction og AG.  XXXX after threatening to take the wheel off and  take it home, the guard was told to released the vehicle. XXXXXX

  8. Oliver says:

    Do you know that a Chief Officer in Government has interest in this as well as a certain secuirty company ??? no need to look too deap to find out which.


    • Anonymous says:

      Sad to say but I really think the only way we will have fair business here is when goverment officials aren’t allowed to have any interest in other companies.

  9. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     If you could find out who the real owners of the clamping companies were then you would understand why the amount to the public purse is so small.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ownership of local companies is kept secret. This allows corruption to run rampant.

      I read the Auditor General’s report on the financing of Boswain’s Beach. The auditor listed a number of companies that received fees for doing almost nothing. The Auditor conculded that the government did not receive value for the money it spent on securing the financing. In other words, it looks like these companies ripped off the government. Unfortunately, there was not one word in the report regarding the ownership of these companies. The perception, right or wrong, is that the names were withheld to protect the guilty.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ordinary local companies do not have secrecy of shareholders as the shareholders details are available upon request under the Companies Law. However that does not prevent law firms and the like acting as nominee shareholders, keeping the beneficial ownership secret. It seems to me that companies trading with Govt. in Cayman should be capable of transparancy of interests – e.g. disclosure of beneficial owners, directors and so on in any tender documentation, and that those documents should be capable of FOI disclosure. 

        Is it really a brick wall, or is the ownership / people behind these companies a matter that can be brought out if anyone is interested enough?   

        • Anonymous says:

          It is all about certain individuals who are well connected making 10 or 20 per cent of all the transactions.

          They justify it by claiming that it is all about keeping the money in Cayman.

          However, I suspect, just suspect mind you, that the money never trickles down to unemployed Caymanians except for the month before an election.

        • Anonymous says:

          Good luck on this one.

          There are lots of well connected persons making 5 or 10 or 20 per cent on Caymanian government contracts that do not want their ill-gotten gains exposed.

          A knowledgable person who left Cayman many years ago had this to say, "Caymanians are Christians, on Sunday the go to church to pray; then, on the other 6 days of the week, they prey on each other".

          The indentured slavery law that passes for an immigration law is proof perfect of this maxim.


          • Anonymous says:

            Those who extract money from Government contracts by abusing their position, can be seen as survivors in a small boat, all of whom are shackled together. No group can throw one man overboard unless they all want to be dragged down with him. So they all sit tight, feeling secure in this knowledge. I also wonder just how far the protective influence of the Freemasons goes. A long way I suspect.