Speed Gun Police Out of Control

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By Dr Neil Gosine

THE mentality of the traffic police handing out tickets is heartless and cruel to people who really need better service from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS). 

I recently got a ticket going just 10km over the speed limit on Uriah Butler Highway heading to the Eastern Main Road to go to Medical Associates as I got some urgent disturbing news from a relative at the hospital. 

In my defense I was just following the pace of the car in front of me and everyone seemed to be going around that speed. They recently put up new speed limit signs saying the speed limit on that road is 60 kilometres per hour. So they were out with their speed guns. 


Really having the disturbing news and thinking you have to reach the hospital quickly was one of my thoughts as I was going the speed of the flowing traffic. However, it turned out that I was going 10 kilometers over the speed limit. 


When I was stopped I provided all my credentials and insurances and told the officer what was going on and where I was heading. He didn’t even give me a second thought or any consideration, he immediately said I was going 70 km in a 60 km zone and he had to give me a ticket and there will be a two-point demerit on my license. 

I believe, the power these officers exhibit over their use of this speed gun is out of control, with the latest method in the ticketing mechanism these police officers use. Further, the application of the dreaded Demerit Points is very harsh and can be especially for someone who depends on driving as their job, because if they lose their licence they can be faced with the reality where they are unable to provide for their families. The fines are very exorbitant and crushing already, why then the need for demerit points, isn’t that excessive force? 


Really placing this tool in the hands of our police officers with overbearing attitudes and no compassion in performing their duties in policing, the motoring public has a hard pill to swallow when you are already distressed by some news that your family member may be dying at a hospital. The general impression of the motoring public is that most of these police officers are psychologically unfit to perform their duties in an efficient and fair manner.

You know many people will say you must obey the law at all times and that you deserved the ticket because you didn’t obey the rules? And yes you are right. However, there were extenuating circumstances where a little compassion is required in performing your duties. I’m sure many police officers do have the ability and skill to be professional and compassionate at the same time. Compassion in Law Enforcement in Trinidad and Tobago is not widely seen. The willingness to assist others on an emotional level and to altruistically put the needs of others before yourself without expecting reciprocity is hardly ever seen in  these circumstances. 

Like I said many people would say you broke the law and deserved the ticket. I’ll say yes, that is true but there must be consideration and the speed that the person was going and on top of the $1,500 ticket, the demerit points are just a very cruel harsh punishment. 

I am really appealing to the Minister of Transport to relook at this whole demerit system and asking the opposition as well to call for the demerits system to be repealed. The average citizen or driving public are only trying to get through the day on bad roads, difficult conditions in dealing with high stress, and trying to avoid criminals from taking advantage of them while they are traveling in their cars. Many are law abiding drivers and not criminals, is it too much to ask for professionalism in the TTPS as they carry out their duties? Is it too much to ask that drivers that are depending on their cars for a living not be victimized and punished by the demerit system that can put them on the breadline and prevent them from earning a living? 

We need competent police officers, one that is able to understand, retain and explain facts and procedures properly. Work well with the public as part of an effective team. We need a little compassion out there where they appreciate views from the people they serve so that they can effectively protect and serve. 

Neil Gosine is an insurance executive. He was appointed a temporary Opposition Senator and is also the treasurer of the UNC and a former chairman of the National Petroleum Marketing Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration MBA, BSC in Mathematics and a BA in Administrative Studies. The views and comments expressed in this column are not necessarily those of AZP News, a Division of Complete Image Limited.



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