Driving offences man clears a new path for himself
A man given community service instead of a $2,000 fine for traffic offences has found a new ambition after he was allocated a landscaping role.
Malachi Smith, 21, who has just completed his community service order, hopes to stay in the sector and go on to own a landscaping business.
He said he was “relieved” to be told that his driver’s licence, which had been suspended by Magistrates’ Court until May next year, would be reinstated early because of good behaviour.
Mr Smith said: “It’s been a year so it feels good to get my licence back.
He added: "I just wanted to apply myself. There was a task at hand and I tried to do it the best I could.“
Mr Smith, from Pembroke, was speaking after he completed 315 hours of community service in about 11 months.
He appeared in Magistrates’ Court last Friday for confirmation of completion of the order and was praised by his probation officer and former supervisor for his dedication.
Mr Smith pleaded guilty last November to failure to stop for police and riding an unlicensed and uninsured motorcycle.
He was allowed to do community service instead of paying a $2,000 fine and was enrolled in the skills development programme, a joint effort by the Department of Parks and the Department of Court Services.
Mr Smith said he started as early as 7am from Monday to Friday and worked at the Arboretum in Devonshire, as well as the at the official residence of the Premier and at the Deputy Governor’s house.
He learnt a variety of skills, including brush removal, gardening and how to use different tools safely.
Mr Smith said that the experience had taught him discipline and patience, as well as a respect for traffic laws.
He added: “I had zero experience with landscaping before this but it came easily to me, so everything seemed pretty straightforward.
“I wanted to get back on the road badly and I didn’t want to mess my chances up, so I had to tell myself to stay off the bike.”
Mr Smith’s licence was restored after he told senior magistrate Juan Wolffe that he wanted to be able to go and get groceries for his four-person household, which included his grandmother.
Mr Wolffe said: “I want to applaud you for all the work you’ve done.
“You are a very talented young man and you sound like you have great promise.”
He added: “That’s exactly what we want to see – people who’ve made a mistake turning their lives around.
“You are a prime example of why we have this community service programme.”
Roger Parris, Mr Smith’s supervisor at parks department, said Mr Smith was “the best worker there”.
He added that his work ethic and skill was so good that he had offered Mr Smith additional paid work at weekends for $20 an hour.
Mr Parris said: “I’ve only had two problems with Malachi – the first is that he’s overworking me and the second is that all of my foremen want him to work for them.”
He added: “The skills development programme is here to assist people.
“There are a lot of young men out there like Malachi who have made mistakes and if you just give us the opportunity to help them you will see a change in some of them.
“It’s not me who’re changing them – it’s the participants who are changing each other.”
A spokeswoman for the Department of Court Services thanked Mr Smith for his dedication to the job.
She said: “Some people I’ve worked with have struggled to get 20 hours – he did more than 300.”
Kelly Madeiros, also with court services, added: “Mr Smith seemed very lost with his life and so he’s definitely done really well in this programme and I think he will benefit for the rest of his life.”