We are too indisciplined - Radcliffe Lewis supports higher fines for traffic breaches

March 02, 2023
Policemen issue traffic tickets to motorists at West Parade in downtown Kingston.
Policemen issue traffic tickets to motorists at West Parade in downtown Kingston.

Former head of the police's traffic unit retired Senior Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis said that despite negative reaction from the public, the higher fines for road traffic breaches are necessary to bring discipline.

"Let me tell you something, our citizens here in Jamaica is one of the hardest set of people to control and you have to be tough on them. That is why when some of them go abroad, dem get deported back because dem indiscipline. That is a part of our nature to be indisciplined," he said.

"That is exactly why the road traffic law comes in, enuh, to control the indiscipline. I heard a lot of people saying that it is a money making thing because of the fines. I don't agree with that, it is something carefully designed for the betterment of the road users both motorists and pedestrians. It is simple, if you conform with the law, then the sum put out for the offences you will not pay it. But if you don't conform then it is here to punish," he added, while admitting there were some initial hiccups.

Lewis lamented the numerous road fatalities since the start of the year. According to the Road Safety Unit, up to March 1, 71 persons had died on the roads from 60 fatal crashes. Lewis urged the Government to take more action.

"I would also want to see NWA (National Works Agency) change the white lines to yellow, the Jamaican drivers dem respect yellow more than white. From I born, 60-odd years is white line I see and a lot of accidents. Try something new now man!" he said. Lewis also called for the Palisadoes main road, starting from the Harbour View roundabout, to be divided by concrete barriers "straight to the airport".

"The only thing can happen is that you are compelled to drive slow and there is no way you can overtake, and if you drive careless out there, yuh ago bruise up the ride side a yuh car on the concrete barrier. At least yuh won't crash into anybody head-on and kill yuh self," he added.

Lewis, who became famous for his smart quips during interviews, said he has never been ticketed as a driver and that is because he adheres to the road laws regardless of his status.

"Me conform, enuh. Mi wear mi seat belt, mi tek time and drive and when mi driving to country, me leave soon and when mi driving back to town, mi leave soon also. When me a drive go St Elizabeth and drive, mi tek time. Number one, mi no wah my front end mash up through bad road and mi always conserve on fuel too. Although mi out a di force, a whole heap a time mi cuss people pon di road, enuh, and chastise dem. Yuh wah hear dem sometimes, 'Sorry Mr Lewis' and drive weh," he said.

Lewis has also taken issue with the vast amount of illegal activities he has frequently witnessed along roadways.

"The sidewalks have been taken over completely by roadside garage, or people a advertise dem cars for sale. As a result, people have to be walking in di miggle road because di roadside gone. Mi see all crane weh dem jack up vehicles with inna roadway. Nobody nah tell mi, dis a weh me see. So dem must have an organisation weh deal wid dis specifically," he said.

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