Archive for December 29th, 2010

DUI suspect runs down cop

| 29/12/2010 | 28 Comments

(CNS): A police officer escaped injured in the early hours of Christmas morning after a man suspected of driving under the influence drove at the cop in an attempt to make his escape, police revealed on Wednesday 29 December. At about 12.40 am on Saturday, 25 December, police officers stopped a Honda Prelude in Mount Pleasant Road, West Bay and as a police officer approached the car the driver suddenly drove his vehicle at the officer striking him on his side. The police followed the car as it made off along the West Bay Road where a short time later it collided with a bush. No other vehicles were involved. The driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI, failing to stop for police, dangerous driving and police assault. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

The RCIPS confirmed that the police officer involved was not injured in the incident. “This officer had a lucky escape”, said Chief Inspector Angelique Howell. “This once again underlines how dangerous drinking and driving is. We were lucky that no-one was injured or killed in the incident.”

The man involved was one of five people arrested in the fifth week of the RCIPS seasonal safety campaign. Figures released on Wednesday revealed that road behaviour has not necessarily improved during the RCIP’ attempt to get drivers to think had about their driving.

Since 22 November here have been 28 arrests for DUI; 182 traffic offences reported; 223 people detected speeding; 298 traffic tickets issued and 243 road smashes.

“As we approach the New Year period it’s disheartening to see that so many people are still gambling with their safety – and the safety of innocent road users – by getting behind the wheel when drunk,” Howard added. “Despite numerous media appeals and our heightened visibility on the streets people still believe that they will not be caught. This week five more people who chose to take that chance ended up behind bars.”

She said that the RCIPS want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable New Year.

“That’s why once again I’m calling on everyone who has an interest in keeping these islands safe to play their part,” the senior officer implored. “If you know someone who drinks and drives – call us. If you are going out to celebrate – please make sure you have a designated driver or you arrange to use a taxi.
“In addition, if you are on foot be aware of your surroundings and be careful when crossing the road and walking home.”

Police said anyone whohas information about people committing road traffic offences or drinking and driving should contact their local police station.
 

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Government gets $10 per wheel clamp

| 29/12/2010 | 16 Comments

(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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