2 Mar 2010

Idiot on the loose

Letter from Tattoo to the Guardian…

I have taken note of a letter from Edmund Gall, who is apparently living in England, complaining about the amendments that are being made to the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act.

Gall is aggrieved because the Government is seeking to remove the ambiguity that currently exists in the law with respect to identification marks on vehicles, in particular the identification marks used on vehicles owned by the Office of the Prime Minister. However, Gall is wrong in every respect and these overseas letter writers need to get their facts straight before rushing to print.

In the first place, contrary to Gall's erroneous assertions, the Act does not authorise the President to use the coat of arms on his official vehicles. Instead, all the Act does, at Clause 16, is exempt the President from the requirement for identification marks on his vehicles and there is no reference whatsoever to the coat of arms in the Act. The reality is that the use of the coat of arms is authorised by the Minister of National Security under the National Emblems Act, a completely different piece of legislation. Gall is clearly also unaware of the fact that in 1997, under a previous Government, the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act was changed to give the minister with responsibility for transport the authority to approve the procedures for registration of vehicles. The requirement for licensing of vehicles was abolished at the same time and changes were also made to the requirements for identification marks on vehicles.

As a result, since 1997, the Transport Minister has been empowered to authorise new procedures for the registration of vehicles. However, the necessary changes were not made to the regulations, thus creating a conflict between the primary legislation (the Act) and the subsidiary legislation (the regulations). This is the ambiguity that we are now correcting.

Colm Imbert

Minister of Works and Transport

Jumbie’s response:

So it takes 13 years between changing an Act and changing the regulations to reflect the Act?

By the way, can Martin Joseph (or Imbert) produce the licence or the application for the licence from the Office of the Prime Minister, or the Prime Minister, as required by the National Emblems Act to use the Coat of Arms as a number plate?

5. (1) The Minister may grant to a person who makes an application in accordance with subsection (3) a licence to do any one or more of the following things:

(a) to use or display the Coat of Arms in connection with business, trade, profession or calling or with the activities of any body of persons whether corporate or unincorporate;

(b) to sell or offer for sale any articles, goods or things which represent or on which is reproduced or represented the Coat of Arms.

(2) A licence granted by the Minister may contain such terms and conditions as the Minister may think fit and may at any time be revoked or varied by the Minister.

(3) An application for a licence shall be in writing and shall contain such information as the Minister may from time to time require.

I sure we goh see ah licence turn up now dat ah mention it.

And I wonder what use the Coat of Arms comes under: “business, trade, profession or calling or with the activities of any body of persons whether corporate or unincorporate”…?