Opposition Senator Saddam Hosein.

More financial burden on motorists.

That’s the opinion of UNC senators Saddam Hosein and Larry Lalla on Government’s latest proposed motor vehicle law and its provisions for registration of vehicles and use of spot speed cameras.

The bill was laid in the Senate yesterday. But Hosein said registration will add further burden on citizens, as drivers will have to pay $350 to register their vehicle for five years and have to continue paying this sum to re-register.

Hosein was also concerned about proposed radio frequency identification chips for license plates. “Having private information can put you in choppy waters—where will data on the chip be stored and who has access to it? Can the information be used for criminal probes and will police need warrants to get the data? Politicians shouldn’t have access to it,” Hosein said, noting issues in certain US locations where police stored such chips and it was abused.

Hosein said he was concerned about an invasion of privacy since the People’s National Movement Government had “tried to water down privacy rights all term.”

Independent Maria Dillon-Remy also echoed concerns on potential abuse of data.

UNC’s Lalla said T&T’s heavy traffic affects lives and productivity—now important in T&T’s current tough economic times.

“Ease of business ranking is steadily falling but the public is deriving no benefits from the spot speed cameras, which are non-functional in some places …however, contracts for this are being issued and someone is benefiting,” Lalla added.

“A lot of money was spent to equip police with speed guns but T&T’s moving from that to something else to spend money on—but not dealing with the real issue of traffic. Every day we’re finding new ways to tax people directly or indirectly – they can’t take it anymore! Globally, it’s been seen that spot speed cameras are an easy way to raise money.”

Lalla said malfunctions are a common problem with spot speed cameras. He said it was recognised via certain sections of the bill. But he said the bill didn’t allow access to evidence of malfunctions.

“Is it fair to put evidence of malfunction out of citizens’ reach? Then the bill’s aim is just to take people’s money than to be fair to them! If the aim is to reduce speeding, rather than raise money as I suggest it might be, then you can’t make it impossible for a citizen who wasn’t speeding to prove his innocence. There must be some way for them to access evidence to show if the camera was operating or not.”

Lalla suggested local license plates should carry T&T’s brand like US plates do.

“Florida plates carry the message ‘The Sunshine State.’ What’s T&T’s brand? We can capitalise on such plates to market who we are,” Lalla said.

Lalla added that the Curepe overpass, which was opened last month, was nice but the paving was the worst.

“Driving on it is like driving on a trampoline—it’s unsafe,” Lalla said.