Sinanan defends licensing officers over Farley comments; says no one above the law

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Sinanan defends licensing officers over Farley comments; says no one above the law

Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan has come out in defence of officers of the Licensing Division following allegations by THA Chief Secretary, Farley Augustus, that they had “terrorised” Tobagonians in road exercises between April 13 and 18

During a media briefing at the ministry’s office, in Port-of-Spain, yesterday, Sinanan said a particular incident in Tobago last week had highlighted the need for officials to be reminded that, “If you are stopped on the road, there is a way to deal with it.”

He said, “No one in high office or relatives or family could cancel a system that was put in place by the Parliament of T&T.”

During the Tobago exercises, Augustine’s wife – Taky-Ana Nedd-Augustine – was stopped and it was found that she did not have her driver’s permit with her.

Transport Commissioner Clive Clarke said his officers had followed the letter of the law in every respect.

He dismissed claims that any form of bias had been exercised against the relative of the senior official who had been found to be driving without a permit during one of the road exercises, which had prompted the spurious allegations.

Clarke said, “We are charged with the responsibility as officers, to ensure that we don’t exercise any level of bias or be influenced by anyone in conducting our exercise.”

Indicating road exercises are conducted on a daily basis in Trinidad, he said the need had arisen to carry out such operations in Tobago on a more regular basis and following from last week’s exercises – there is the strong possibility that it could become a monthly occurrence.

Sinanan expressed disappointment over the claims by Augustine.
He also reminded drivers that the Transport Commissioner had responsibility and jurisdiction over the operations of the Licensing Division in both islands.

Following the exercises, Clarke said they had issued a total of 692 Fixed Penalty Notices; which also included the Notice of Disqualification/Intention to Disqualify, to a number of drivers.

“We were able to identify 29 persons driving with demerit points ranging between 10 and 77 points,” he said.

“One individual was caught driving on the nation’s roads with 77 points, and we were able to commence the process in terms of addressing those issues.”

Clarke said, “While this may appear trivial to some, it could be devastating to families in the event of an accident.”

He reaffirmed, “As Transport Commissioner, I have a responsibility, together with the law enforcement officers to ensure persons safety.”

Commending Tobagonians who were complying with the regulations, Clarke said he had advised his staff to demonstrate leniency where possible.