24-hour road surveillance cameras now backed by law

Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn making a point while debating the bill in the National Assembly

The National Assembly on Monday evening amended the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act to include a provision for 24-hour road surveillance cameras. These intelligent camera systems will be installed at traffic lights, and will be overseen by the Guyana Police Force.
Speaking on the amendment, Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn stated that this amendment comes on the heels of scores of accidents on the nation’s roadways.
“While we have put in place new highways and new roads, we still have the problem of speeding, we have the problem of drinking and driving heavily on weekends, and so the resort is the amendment of (the) Motor Vehicles Act,” Benn stated.
Benn added that these cameras would be placed along public roadways in order to capture lawless activities of drivers.
“They will be installed in public roads. It is an electronic system consisting of cameras to capture photographic images and videos of vehicles and persons in the vehicles, and radars to detect the speed of vehicles,” he declared.
He explained that the footages recorded would be stored in a specific database by the National Data Management Authority, and would be accessible to members of the police force and various persons in the judicial court systems.
“The NDMA shall give every magistrate’s court access to the database by web application, and provide a facility in the system for payment in prosecution in the magistrate’s court,” the minister noted.
On this point, he revealed that the Traffic Chief would be in charge of assigning members of the police force who would be able to access the database of these footages.
Benn highlighted that he believes the amendments proposed to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act would go a long way towards improving the situation of public accidents and building the public’s concern.
Meanwhile, expressing similar sentiments towards the amendment of the act, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill expressed that this will allow the Guyana Police Force to deal with personnel more efficiently.
“With this legislation, the police force will be empowered to utilize their personnel in a more efficient manner, as they will be able to attend to other matters while the cameras are working day, night, rain or sun, and they will be able to curb and prevent the excessiveness and the lawless that are taking place on our roads,” Edghill explained.
Stating that there are two main offences that the legislation focuses on, he expressed how beneficial the new implementations would be.
“This piece of legislation will be able to address two road offences: Speeding, and the lack of use of seat belt. The fact that we have these cameras strategically placed will produce safer communities,” Edghill posited.
Edghill made it clear that these cameras would also capture motorist who are seen constantly performing all kinds of stunts on the public roadways, amazing pedestrians but causing potential harm to public facilities and citizens.
The bill also enjoyed the support of Opposition Members of Parliament. (G2)