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Parking ticket mix-up could see drivers get refund

Parking enforcement officer Earl Basden on Church Street. (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Refunds could be given for parking tickets that were issued by City of Hamilton enforcement officers before a change in legislation ratifying their appointment.

Five staff were hired for the job last August but stopped handing out tickets in November after a stand-down order from an acting Minister of Public Works.

The law was later changed and four of the parking enforcement officers were re-engaged earlier this year.

A city spokeswoman said yesterday: “The Corporation of Hamilton implemented the City of Hamilton parking enforcement officer scheme after taking legal advice and with the concurrence and support of the Bermuda Police Service and the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

“The scheme was introduced following careful consideration of the measures necessary for the management of increased traffic flow within the city.

“The corporation continues to take the view that the scheme was lawfully implemented.

“However, the corporation is prepared to consider refunding ticket payments made on an entirely ex gratia [as a favour, rather than right] basis and without prejudice to that position.

“The corporation is therefore advising members of the public that any motorists who received a parking ticket which was issued by a City of Hamilton parking enforcement officer between August 30 and November 30, 2021 and subsequently paid that ticket may be eligible for a refund.”

She emphasised: “The parking ticket must have been issued by one of the city’s five PEOs, not a traffic warden.

“This will be indicated on each ticket under the section ‘Issuing Officer’.

“If the officer number listed is any of the following — 5250, 5251, 5252, 5253, 5254 — you will be eligible for a full refund on your paid ticket.”

The spokeswoman added: “If a member of the public believes they are eligible for a refund based on the above, they must bring their ticket plus proof of payment — receipt from the court — to City Hall to receive their full refund.

“Refunds will only be issued as of August 1, 2022 via direct deposit to the individual’s bank account. Therefore, those persons will also need to provide their banking details as well as contact information.

“No application for a refund will be considered after close of business on August 31, 2022.”

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, presented the Municipalities Amendment (No 2) Act 2022 in the House of Assembly in March.

He said at the time: “Colleagues may recall that the Corporation of Hamilton announced in September 2021 the implementation of these PEOs for the purpose of enforcing traffic laws within their jurisdiction.

“However, in October 2021, the Ministry of Public Works questioned the lawfulness of such action.

“Thus, the then acting Minister of Public Works issued a directive for the PEOs to stand down effective November 4, 2021 in order to facilitate the amending of existing legislation that will be tabled before this Honourable House which will accomplish the goal of making PEOs lawful.”

He added that the Bill would give the PEOs powers similar to those of traffic wardens in the City of Hamilton, and allow the Corporation of St George to implement a similar parking enforcement scheme.

Colonel Burch said that between September and November last year, the PEOs issued about 2,700 tickets, which equated to $195,950 for parking violations.

The Bill was passed and a city spokeswoman said later that as of April 7 the PEOs were “fully active in the City of Hamilton”.

She added: “Previously, such enforcement was carried out by traffic wardens via the Bermuda Police Service.

“Members of the public should note that these PEOs have been lawfully granted the power to issue tickets.”

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Published July 16, 2022 at 11:32 am (Updated July 16, 2022 at 11:32 am)

Parking ticket mix-up could see drivers get refund

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