A bill was passed on Thursday evening that paves the way for persons ticketed for traffic offences to pay their fines in any jurisdiction.
The Summary Jurisdiction (Procedure) (Amendment) Bill 2013 was presented for its second reading by Legal Affairs Minister and Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who said that the amendment will serve to provide greater convenience for persons wanting to pay their ticket fines, and allow for a more efficient collection of revenue.
The Bill states that “A person upon whom a member of the Police Force has served a notice under subsection (1) may, in lieu of being prosecuted for the alleged offence, pay to the clerk of the court any magisterial district, within seven days from the date of the issue of the notice, such penalty as the Ministry may by order prescribe for the offence.”
Prior to the amendment, a motorist found in violation of traffic laws in Lethem, for example, would only be able to pay the fine in that jurisdiction. This made for all manner of inconveniences since the offender would be required to travel back to Lethem to pay the fine.
As a result, many offenders often opt to default on their ticket payments, thereby further breaking the law. Additionally, it cost the state estimated sums in lost revenue.
The Amendment Bill was passed unanimously but not without a bit of scrutiny. Although he welcomed the change the amendment would bring, A Party for National Unity (APNU) MP Basil Williams said that the government should have sought to make amendments which would have curbed the carnage being seen on Guyana’s roads. He said that the amendment is a “tittybit of a legislation” and that the law could have been altered in a more meaningful way.