The Attorney General should be commended for his very wise initiative in proposing tougher amendments to the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act, and the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act; and for recognizing how interconnected these two important legislative Acts are in controlling the current unbridled road carnage in Guyana. Bartenders should reserve the right to stop selling of liquor to intoxicated patrons, and if found culpable can face criminal charges.
Stiffer laws should certainly lower the horrendous carnage on the roads by impaired drivers, many of whom are alcoholics some of whom might have actually “bought” their driver’s license, with others continuing to do so, if this well-known unlawful and most backward practice still continues to plague Guyana. This legislation is way overdue as Guyanese have been slaughtered on the roads of Guyana, with a great percentage of these drivers being either drunk or under the influence of alcohol at the time of these permanent disfiguring and fatal crashes.
In addition to the proposed amendments to these Acts, the Attorney General should also consider the mandatory use of car ignition locking technology which automatically turns off the ignition and locks the steering wheel when the system detects the driver’s blood alcohol as being above the lawful limit thus preventing the impaired driver from driving. This system should be mandatory for all first offenders and the cost and installation of the car ignition locking device should be entirely borne and paid for by these inebriated offenders. ‘Causing Death by Dangerous Driving’ should be replaced to Vehicular Manslaughter: additionally, if such death occurs while the driver is under the influence then such charge should be modified to Criminal Negligent Homicide.
Another area that cries out for modern regulations is the Real Estate sector. This is a twofold issue: the practice of real estate brokers regarding disclosure to clients, safekeeping of purchase deposits in escrow accounts, representation of real property use and zoning etc. The actual Laws of Guyana regarding real estate (land, waterways, properties, and deeds) need to be upgraded to present day standards – the Deeds Registry is a sore point. It is irrefutable that a vast array of procedures are ambiguous and therefore subjected to several interpretations, as opposed to clear cut provisions notwithstanding, a huge preponderance of cases, ultimately reach the pinnacle jurisprudence in the Apex Caribbean Court of Justice in Trinidad. Properties are sold without the owner’s knowledge or consent while land titles are transferred in clandestine – yet legal—procedures as laws are shrouded in ambivalence and ambiguity and many times are unable to provide for true justice. Properties under litigation have stymied economic growth. With modern efficient Laws, coupled with rational sentencing the society will save billions wasted on litigation.
By Leyland Chitlall Roopnaraine, Real Estate Broker