Clampers’ days numbered

| 20/11/2011

clampdennie_1.jpg(CNS): The unanimous passage of the long awaited Traffic Law by the members of the Legislative Assembly on Friday evening heralds in a modern regime for the islands' roads and transport sector, and one that does not include clampers. Alongside improved safety issues, such as banning the use of mobile phones without a hands free set while driving, the law provides for the licensing and use of electric cars and the registration of driving instructors. The law also spells the end of clamping firms, in line with bans in the UK, where the practice had been described as curb-side extortion, a point the deputy premier said she completely agreed with.

As Juliana O’Connor Connolly, who is the minister responsible for traffic, wrapped up the parliamentary debate on the legislation, welcomed by all members, she read a number of reports from the British press regarding the issue of what she said the media had called “cowboy clampers” .

The deputy premier stated that she agreed with the sentiment in many of the articles published in the UK over the last few months, in particular by the Daily Mail, which had led the campaign to ban the practice altogether. O’Connor Connolly said clamping was both disproportionate and counter-productive and added that there had been cases in Cayman like those in the UK where people were intimidated by the agents who had immobilized their cars and marched to ATMs to pay up before they would remove the offending clamp.

Clamping is a relatively recent practice in the Cayman Islands but after just a few short years the parking management firms' high parking fines — up to $85 — had caused considerable concern in the community and had seen the politicians seeking ways to ban the practice. Independent member Ezzard Miller had brought a private members motion last year asking government to ban the practice, which he believed was illegal.

During the debate on the law the PPM member for East End spoke about the frustrations that have been caused by the clamping companies and not least the extortionate rates they have charged people to remove the wheel clamps. He said he had no sympathy for the businesses involved and jobs that may be lost.

“It’s my job to protect jobs for Caymanians and I ain’t ever seen a Caymanian clamp anybody,” McLean told his colleagues as he offered his support to the ban and the traffic law.

The minister confirmed that, as was the case in the UK, where clamping firms had asked for compensation in the wake of the ban and been given none, there would be no compensation for the local parking management firms either.

Parking enforcement will be in the hands of the police under the new law and people wishing to regulate parking on private land will be able to use barriers to limit access.

The new traffic bill repeals the 2003 version of the law and will come into effect when the regulations are completed. The minister futher revealed that a law is being researched and drafted that will relate to public transport and therefore parts of the traffic bill will eventually be moved into a separate piece of legislation that will deal entirely with public transport issues.

Dealing with everything from the registration of vehicles to the enforcement of road safety measures, the law covers some 143 different clauses. It has also redefined what a motor vehicle is so that vehicles powered by electricity can be licensed and allowed on all roads. 

The law provides for some foreign nationals to drive in the Cayman Islands without applying for a local licence for up to six months. After that time the foreign licence holder will need to pass a written test to acquire a local licence. Drivers from non convention countrieswill not be offered the six months and will need to pass both a written and road test before being able to drive here.

The law also provides for the regulation of driving instructors who take money from learner drivers for lessons. Although parents, guardians and friends who are not charging a fee will still be able to teach young drivers, official instructors will need a certificate of registration to charge money. Instructors will be committing an offence if they take cash for driving lessons unless they are registered with the new driving instructor authority and have received a certificate, which must be displayed in the instructor’s vehicle.

See draft of traffic bill here

Category: Local News

Comments (51)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    You are all missing the point here. Clamping would be a non issue if GT had a decent sized car park. Now where would I put one of those – hmmm how about the old Tower Building lot?

    Well you can't have that 'cos te Government is giving you a BellTower instead ! I'm so grateful.

    Now you wonder why GT is dying……………..

    • Anonymous says:

      ha ha ha – a car park at the old Tower Building would mean that most people would actually have to walk more than 20 feet from their parking place to their office.

      Judging by what I see at Fosters when everyone scrambles to park in the front row by the entrance,I don't think many people would opt to park there.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      GT needs parking badly. The Tower Building lot now has a Christian monument. That is lovely, but couldn't it ALSO hold a pay-parking lot? Imagine, something government could make more money on than it would have to spend.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank God no one has been physically hurt for the clamping. I witnessed a guy about two years ago who pulled a knife on a clamper in a space that was not going to be used at all as the building was closed up. The poor sick lady was just buying some easter fish very late in the afternoon and the guy seeing the situation went to her rescue as advantage was being taken of her. He by the guy who pulled a knife from his sock that if you want to take advanatge of people just go back to your homeland Haiti. I think that he was very glad to take off that clamp.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The law reads "PUBLIC AREA" so therefore, business still have a right to hire these Companies to claim your wheel. Government can't control what private owned property owners do! So, you go and park anywhere you please……

  4. Anonymous says:

    Parking lots for their business should have security assisting with parking. For example if its rainy and somebody just want to pick up a small item that should only take a few minutes then the security would know who they are and remind them that they cant be long in the store or wherever and not wait until they are inside the store clamp their wheel. It was fun time for the clampers and also money making time. They should be made to pay back all the money that they collected. How in the hell will the clampers now face the Public without all that power that they went around with before. They were very rude and made many enemies, I hardly think that they will find other employment, in fact they should not.If the businesses want to make money then they will have to hire decent intelligent security who can use their discresion wisely. Not because a person is not a amputee that they are not disabled. Anyone who carelessly park in the wrong should have the Police called to them and their car towed away on their expense. Again thanks to Ezzard  Arden and Julie.We know that for a long time that Arden spoke against this. LONG OVERDUE.

    • Dred says:

      I would say anyone running into a store should park properly. If I had to give an exemption it would be to a pregnant lady or a mother with a young child.

      No exemptions for handicap parking spots tho.

       

  5. Anonymous says:

    The clampers unfortunately did this to themselves through thier greed. I can understand being clamped in legitimate disabled spots that are clearly marked but the company i"ve had run ins with has a known route they start with every morning and clamp people in areas that are not clearly marked. One such spot has a car clamped in it almost everyday. Instead of clamping when its justified they clamp anything they can order to make their commisions. If these clampers had used a bit more discretion then maybe this new law would never have been passed. I sympathise with the disabled folks who have trouble finding a spot when some ignorant jack ass has obviously parked there without caring, but also sympathise with a construction worker losing an entire days pay when he did not realise he was doing anything wrong. Its all in the attitude of the people who carried out the clamping.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps Mr. Elio can say why he was so against this part of the law being introduced? I understand he was veryargumentative with even the Minister responsible for the bill, using bad language expressing his displeasure about his part of the bill.

      So tell us Mr. ELIOOOOO, why you wanted the wheel clampers to remain doing what they are currently doing?

      I enjoyed Arden speech on this bill in the LA a few nights ago, which he spoke VOLUMES to, and you Mr. Elio wasn't even there.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great News!!! The Campers can go to hell now as this private rule was being misused by the   Parking Management Companies and this is the great way to END it. Be happy with the businessess you are doing. Your enforcement was pathetic to the community.

     

    Keep up the Good News Govt.

     

     

     

  7. Dred says:

    I for one am happy to see them go.

    I have no issue with not "Parking" on double yellow lines especially where it is UNDERSTOOD what parking really means. I give you a case in point and how mental some people can be.

    About a week ago now I go to Hurley's for some shopping. In an act of protection of my wife and son I pull up in front of the entrance to Hurley's so they can get out and then I can then go PARK in a normal parking spot.

    Up comes an assinine driver first driving at breakneck speed (25MPH +) thru the area where people are walking and almost hit me while I was pull across to the front of Hurleys. He then actually has the nerve to reverse to curse me out for dropping my family off.

    Dropping people and picking people up with double yellow line is LEGAL. This is not considered PARKING. Look it up yourself.

    The idiot literally parked his car to curse me out for dropping my family off while this same IDIOT could have knocked someone down while driving thru the heavily walked area. The idiot then proceeded to go to the liquor store whereI summised he was probably already a bit drunk. Him and his Blue SUV.

    People YOU NEED to know your laws and lines.

    These idiots in their clamping have no clue either. Same basic thing happened when my then pregnant wife was going into the Pharmacy there and I stopped only to drop her off and at the time she was exiting the vehicle the clamping guy pulled up to tell me to immediately move the vehicle. I explained GENTLY I was after my wife had moved around the car and onto the sidewalk. He exclaimed what I was doing was illegal and I then  OBLIGED to correct him. He disagreed and then I cursed him out for being an idiot because he was supposedly enforcing a law he knew nothing about.

    So if not only for my run in previously where they forced me to pay what was then $75 for 20 minutes parking where I had no option but to pay.

    So if I show NO REMORSE for them it's because I believe they are getting their just deserts.

    However with that said I do not believe in parking in handicap spots or on double lines with the understanding of what parking actually is. I believe as a civil society we must follow the law.

    Parking in my view is where we actually start waiting for someone to come out of some place or even turn the car off to go into somewhere. I do not believe parking is me pulling up to the curb to let out or pick up someone. The law states this to me quite clearly.

    I do not feel a private company should be enforcing something that is law. That is my view especially where they are to gain financially by it. I would be more inclined to okay them if they got a flat fee monthly regardless of how many cars they clamped. This would at the least make me feel them impartial.

    • Soapbox Sally says:

      Oh so you are one of those irritating people that clog up the entrance to Grand harbour by insisting on stopping right outside the pharmacy…try moving up 20 feet so that you don't block the flow of traffic of people trying to enter and exit….a little consideration.  And honestly, unless your wife has some other ailment, pregnancy doesn't wash as an excuse for me – right now I am 8 months pregnant, as big as a house and would sooner walk from the car park than block everyone's way.

      • Dred says:

        And guess what. If its for my wife and child's safety and I am within the law I will do it again and again. I am breaking no law and you should slow down for pedestrians. PERIOD!

        Until YOU speed freaks realise this is a heavy pedestrian area and you should drive slowly I will continue to do so as long as what I am doing is within the law.

      • Anonymous says:

        What a bunch of fools you are. If what he is doing is legal who are you to say otherwise.

        I have actually been hit by a car at Kirk's about 3 months ago so I know what he is saying and I have seen with my own eyes people flying in parking lots. Consideration goes both ways.

        If all you are doing is letting someone out or picking someone up I have no issue waiting 10 seconds for this to happen. Our issue is not with this so stop your high and mighty speeches. The issue is with people who park and wait and some who even leave their vehicles.

        So stop your PMSing and realise he's only protecting his family and breaking no laws.

         

    • Anonymous says:

      Protecting your son and wife??? Come on! Are you seriously suggesting that parking lots in Cayman are so dangerous that they can't walk from the car to the entrance? Sounds a bit hysterical to me – actually, it sounds more like a lame excuse than anything else.

      I have said it previously – when you are doing something like that, just envision what it would be like if EVERYBODY would be doing the same! Try to imagine if EVERYONE who pulls in to Grand Harbour (or Fosters or Kirks) would drop their loved ones at the front door. I imagine traffic in those parking lots would glog up quite badly.

      But then again – this seems to be the typical attitude in Cayman – no consideration for anyone else – everyone just seems to do what suits them.

  8. Mary says:

    Our neighborhood children use to play cowboys and Indians.  Now they play clampers and slobs (with vice grips and toy SUV/trucks). 

     

  9. The Truth is Out There says:

    Who cares about wheel clamping?  That is a tax on the lazy and stupid.  The clampers would be out of business if everyone obeyed the rules.

    Does the new traffic law bring harsh penalties for parents who let their children roam around freely in moving vehicles (ie no seat belts or car seats)?  How about the ones that hold babies in their arms while in a moving vehicle?   Or the ones that let children sit on their lap andpretend to steer? 

    Does the new traffic law make it illegal for motorcyles and scooters to drive past a line of traffic in the middle of the road or on the shoulder? 

     

  10. Anonymous says:

    When i come into town I will be parking in the RCIP car park, now what you going to do about that!

    ANYONE who parks on MY property needs to read the sign carefully as "I am not responible for any damage to any vehicle parked without authorization"

    Under law I can use resonable means to protect my property,

    I WILL see you in court as I will clamp you!

    When does a vehicle become an obstruction? Simple, when it blocks one of my customers parking!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I find this all very funny – I have driven around this Island for 12 years and have to make multiple trips into town every day and I never have been clamped once, so I can't quite follow the whole hype of this………..but, I am also able to walk more than 20 feet from my car to the store entrance whether it rains or not – something, a lot of people tend to struggle with.

    I believe that if it is your private property you have the right to uphold any regulations you feel like – if people don't want to follow those rules, they have to suffer the consequence or not use that property altogether.

    But this is just typical in Cayman – nobody wants to follow any rules or regulations – and then everyone wonders why this place is going to hell.

  12. Anonymous says:

    As a person with a disability, I can  attest to the blatant disregard the folks of Cayman have for the use of parking spots designated for the use of disabled people will only get worse. This change will just mean that Cayman now has a new law that won't be enforced.

  13. Soapbox Sally says:

    While i do agree with the ban of  use of  cell phone while driving, I do not have an issue with clampers…..my way of avoiding paying the astronomical fees is to not park where I am not supposed to…simples.

     

    I have been clamped and it is annoying and expensive, but admitedly I had accidentally parked in a space next to my usual without realising I was in the wrong spot…my fault – I should have checked and not parked in autopilot. I took responsibility for that and sucked up the penalty – because even a genuine mistake, I was in the wrong. I didn't do it again – that's for sure.

     

    I don't think tow trucks amount to anything different from clamping – you will probably just be charged more because of the increased cost of running a truck (twice) to remove and return the car.  Surely there is no difference.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I don't see how this can be enforced in private parking lots. In public, yes, but don't use regular policemen/women. Have traffic wardens, we could make a fortune with fines for illegal parking, especially the jokers who park in the spots for disabled persons and the happy hour crowd at Rackhams.

    • Dred says:

      Private companies can not charge someone with something against the law. They have no authority under the laws of the Cayman Islands to do so. All the can do isto call the police and have the police address the matter.

      Police will tow and impound vehicles.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree that the police can tow and impound vehicles but can they do this legally in private parking lots and is it a waste of their time when we have much more serious crime going on?

  15. Anonymous says:

    This makes no sense. How can you use barriers to limit access to a parking lot meant for all customers of a business or building? Most businesses don't know who their customers might be on any given day, never mind give them some type of access card. How do businesses ensure that only their customers use their parking spots? Planning demands you provide a certain number of spots for your square footage (depending on what type of business you are). Is this saying anyone can park there? How will businesses in GT survive? Not only will there be no parking for their customers but, one way or another, they will pay for purchase and maintenance of a barrier.

    Whilst I agree that some "clampers" are unethical and will clamp you before your time is up to make money (that some of them keep), I don't think this is the answer.

  16. Anonymous says:

    How about just removing a wheel of a vehicle that is illegally parked and sell it back to the criminal?  No clamp?  No problem.  If they want they can still drive off with the spare and the private property owner can sell the wheel.   Isn't this Caymans way of fixing problems?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Good riddance to the private companies that have been clamping.  This was purely an aggressive money-making scheme that frustrated and violated a lot of citizens.  That said, used effectively I have no issue with the RCIP purchasing and using clamps to enforce traffic violations as they are obligated to look after the better interest of the community.  And if the businesspeople who own the private clamping agencies have any issue with this they should look into investing in a tow truck company – it seems to be the next logical step.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Alright now I can park anywhere like it is meant to be. Thanks Ezzard.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thats brave, trying to stop Caymanians from using their phones in their cars! Course its dangerous, everyone knows that, but I used to reckon that it was so endemic in Cayman that the driving license tests were done with one hand strapped to an ear!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Just put more Police in town on foot patrol and issue a ticket which is lightly stuck to the driver side window. Could do with a dozen more and have assigned to certain areas all over GT.  

  21. Anon says:

    I detest clamping, but I wonder what recourse will GT businesses have to keep freeloaders from parking on their property?

    • Anonymous says:

      yeah…that would be called thinking things through…..

      what government has done is a victory for ignorance…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Tow them

      • Anonymous says:

        By the time you get a tow truck to come, they will have driven their car off. I imagine if you call for a tow truck, you have to pay them and then try and get the money back from the offender.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Well done Julie.When you are right , you are right.It would be remise of me not to mention our good ole mouth piece Ezzie. We know that from start you was against this. As you said you never see a Caymanian clamping no one, but to the reverse. This sis the kind of politicians we like to see , oppositions and the Government agreeing for what is right. Now to all those clampers that treated us like scum they should be sent back. If their qualifications was clamping wheels, well there is no more jobs in Cayman for that profession. Happy riddance to b..  rub..sh. And again thanks to our one and only Ezzard miller and also thanks Julie.

  23. Y U T E says:

    Please do not put a ban on clampers until we clamp the premier. We need to stop him & his madness somehow.

  24. AnonymousSick and Tired of the B...S... says:

    What is the situation with clamping vehicles which have parked in spaces designated “Handicapped” in private car parks, which are not entitled to do so.

    • Entitled says:

      Speak for yourself, I am entitled to park wherever I want whenever I want.

    • Loopy Lou says:

      From many years using Cafe del Sol, apparently you are allowed to park in disabled spaces if you drive a Hummer or are a fat women in a pick up truck getting food to last the journey from West Bay to George Town.

      • Anonymous says:

        Or a policeman having coffee, they do that all the time at the Lawrence Boulevard location, no shame, poor example, you know who you are.

    • Anonymous says:

      Those spaces will have the signs changed to "intitled" parking only.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Can someone please explain how this is going to work? If a private landlord wishes to employ a private "clamping" firm to regulate the use of their parking lot, howdoes this law prevent that?

    For example, a parking lot for a multi-tenant shopping complex is provided to the tenants by the landlord for the tenants customers. Is this law now saying that the landlord cannot do this? Does this mean that drivers who are not conducting business at this complex would now be able to occupy a space in the parking lot for as long as they want? How would the Police regulate that? What jurisdiction does the law give to the officer to issue a ticket? How is this the responsibility of the Police anyway? Surely, they have more important things to do. If this is what the law will say then how would these businesses ensure that they have parking for their clients? Will the businesses simply die because their customers cannot park and therefore will go elsewhere?

    I work for a large company that has a parking lot for the exclusive use of their customers. They have to pay for a guard to stop non-customers from parking all day and the only deterent is the treat of being clamped. So will my employer have to cease this practice? Does this mean that my employer could lose business and have to downsize?

    Surely the majority of persons complaining about being clamped were doing something something they should not have done in the first place.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      “Surely the majority of persons complaining about being clamped were doing something something they should not have done in the first place.”

      I agree completely. It would be fine to issue tickets if in a public place, but even that has problems when police can’t find cars involved in crime.

    • Anonymous says:

      Looks like a new niche-market for tow trucks.

    • Anonymous says:

      .  Now private landlords will have to hire private barrier firms to keep their own private parking areas from being used by those who are intitled to park anywhere on Cayman they want.  That is until the deputy premeir or her family is 'Barriered" and they change that law and make a new one that works until etc., etc, etc.

    • Stephen says:

      The police has all kinds of authority and jurisdiction to enforce illegal/unauthorized parking.  The very least of which is that it's just a special case of trespassing.  If someone was in your business and refused to leave, you'd call the police to remove them and it basically falls under trespassing which give the owner the right to throw you out or have the police do it. Same withyour car.  Beside tresspasing there are safety laws if you are parked in a firelane, or blocking traffic. There are laws against parking in handycapped spots. 

      I am not fully familiar with our traffic law but in some other countries private security firms havebe given authority to issues government enforced tickets and I would suggest this be used here which would resolve the next point…

      Regarding the police having better things to do, first it's not like you are using detectives, you're using something akin to a meter maid to issue these tickets which will be generating revenues to pay their salaries as well as bring in additional revenue for the Island.

      Finally, since you seem to like the service of the clamping companies, you can continue to employ them in the capacity of lot monitor and instead of clamping they can contact the police on your behalf to have someone come issue a ticket.  Of course you'll have to pay them now instead them relying on the clamping fines.

    • Anony Mous says:

      As it stands now, we are not able to use any parking area that was approved by the Planning Department for public/customer parking as these are all reserved for staff and owners. It is impossible for any one driving into town on most occasion to be going to only one establishment, so it is impractical for us to move our cars ten feet each time that we are going into another building. The new law as I understand it will allow private parking lots which were approved as such to put restrictions in place to secure that lot, however each building is required to furnish a prescribed number of parking space for public use, and these are the areas where the laws apply. As for Disable Parking zones, they were approved by the Planning Department along with fire lanes which in my view if these are used improperly the offender should be towed and prosecuted by the police because this is an offence against the law. A private company clamping a wheel in any of these areas is very dangerous to the public, in that in the event that the space is needed in an emergency, the disabled/clamped vehicle will not be able to be remove by any one. Just for the record I have quite a few photographs of these wheel clampers cars parked in disable-parking and fire-lanes. Theirexplanation to me each time I ask why do they have that privilege and I am told that they have no where else to park while they conduct their business.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well that is whats writen in the LAW anyone can park anywhere…. thatmeans your company will have to downsize because genuine customers will not have a place to park  sorry to tell you that

      Cayman Islands Government  LAW ARE WRITTEN IN PENCILE  they get an Idea puts in the LAW then a few years  they rub it out and put in a stupid LAW

      The stupidity of your government and the lack of common sense  its  not even funny

       

      I give it one month until everything gets out of control