The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is urging drivers not to park in disabled parking spaces.
The RCIPS sent out a public advisory Wednesday requesting local drivers to respect the disabled parking spaces – also known as blue spots – that are arrayed around the community. The parking spaces, the advisory noted, are meant to be used only by people with a disabled card visibly displayed in their vehicle.
The police noted that the fine for parking in a disabled spot without proper documentation is $100. The advisory stated that police will be adopting a “zero tolerance” approach to people who park in these spots without authorization.
Complaints are on the rise, said the RCIPS, necessitating a response from the community.
For Kent McTaggart, that is a statement that is long overdue. Mr. McTaggart, who ran to be a political candidate for the constituency of Savannah in the May election, doubles as a spokesperson for The Blue Spot, a Cayman Islands Facebook page that documents disabled parking spot violations.
“I would say we welcome the statement. I hope that there’s action on the statement,” said Mr. McTaggart of the blue spot violations. “The truth is that a statement’s great and it might have some effect, but unless the RCIPS actually reacts to the calls that come in or proactively patrol, nothing’s going to change.”
Mr. McTaggart said members of The Blue Spot community frequently call the police to report disabled parking spot violations, and the typical response time is more than 20 minutes. Recently, he said, he personally experienced a frustrating response from the police that illustrates the problem.
He said his son was recently in the hospital for some medical treatment, and the family saw three cars parked in handicapped spots without the disabled card visibly displayed on their dashboards. Mr. McTaggart called the police, and the police tracked down the vehicle owners and asked them to move.
There was no fine, said Mr. McTaggart, and there were no repercussions for the offending drivers. And without more active measures of law enforcement, he said, the problem will never be addressed.
“People do not respect the RCIPS. It’s always blank threats,” said Mr. McTaggart of the community response to RCIPS warnings. “Zero tolerance to window tint. OK, well, that happened for a week and now everyone’s got window tint. Zero tolerance to drunk driving. That happened for a week. It’s flavor of the month.
“I’m not very hopeful of any difference. It’s a great statement, and as a body, we’re thankful the RCIPS made that statement, but unless they action it, it’s not going to mean anything.”
The Blue Spot kept records at one point, said Mr. McTaggart, and initial studies led them to believe that several dozen drivers were violating disabled parking spaces on a daily basis. On any given day, he said, a random driver could make their way around town and find at least 10 violators in an hour.
“We made a statement to the RCIPS that if you put one officer on that for one year, it would more than pay their salary,” he said. “It would change society’s perspective. It’s $100 apiece. Let’s say an officer costs the people $70,000 a year. We’re talking about what, 700 tickets?
“Is that believable they could write two handicapped tickets a day? Let’s be very real. If we wanted to fix this, we could fix this.”