I gave a small chuckle when I read there were thousands of motorists lining up to have their vehicles inspected for mechanical suitability and roadworthiness and, if successful, who would receive the appropriate windscreen sticker.
After a five-month moratorium, Trinidadians and to a lesser extent Tobagonians, in their usual ‘laissez faire’ attitude to law and order, failed to take advantage of the generous ‘bligh’ given them. So vehicle inspections became a crisis.
What does this attitude tell us about our culture? This last-minute push to accomplish so many important things? Our inability to observe the laws of the country?
Remember the law about the use of cell phones while driving? Nothing.
The seatbelt law, although more and more people are abiding with it? Not much has happened.
Loud music in vehicles and bars? Nothing.
The fireworks law? Almost useless.
Our complete disobedience of the parking laws?
That’s what our citizens have become—in a word LAWLESS.
All this does is merely make the situation ripe for exploitation. And with accomplices on the inside, touts and smart men, somehow inspection certificates and stickers are given out without vehicles even getting in the general line up.
As a matter fact there was a rumour that while a station gets through about 50 to 60 inspections per day there was one station which gave out more than 100 stickers in one day!
In two years, vehicle inspections become due again. Are we going to experience the same frustrations again? Because there will be thousands more vehicles on the road. What will the authorities do then? Another ‘bligh’?
We have come to conclude that Trinbagonians are last-minute people. It manifests itself in so many areas of our endeavours. So ‘bligh’ or no ‘bligh’ we will see a repetition.
A week later I was forced, this time to laugh out more loudly, as a matter of fact raucously and which lasted for minutes causing my dear wife to come running to inquire if anything was wrong. I had read this headline in a daily newspaper, ‘Licensing Racket’.
The accompanying story gave the impression that it had taken the authorities more than 40 years to realise that the corruption nest that is the Licensing Authority. Interestingly however, there has been not a single arrest made in all those years.
All sane and knowledgeable citizens, and even outside, know that anything you want, you can get if you grease the hand(s) of either one or several people. That has been the norm for decades in this happy-go-lucky and corrupt country. It’s an open secret, so that for the authorities to now ‘discover’ that there seems to be racket at licensing has to be a big joke!
With enough money and some well-placed contacts, low or high, you can beat any system in place in this country. One can sit in the comfort of one’s home and receive a perfectly valid Driver’s Permit, Inspection Certificate stickers (trucks and other heavy equipment included), Vehicle Transfers and other transactions which are supposed to take place at the licensing office.
The authorities say they have their eyes on certain people; we await arrests. But if I know my people, that is not the first that such threats have been made. And in spite of the best intentions, nothing has happened of which the public is aware.
But we live in T&T, one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Nothing surprises me. Many in authority uphold the corruption and sadly, the majority of citizens comply.
Just look at HDC; the passport office; the Lands and Surveys Department; WASA and T&TEC; and many more, which present themselves as paragons of virtue but whose names are spoilt by corrupt employees. How does this measure up with your lifestyle?