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Public unimpressed by admission that alco-analyser is not operating

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Police revealed last week that their alco-analyser equipment was “temporarily out of order” but suspected drink drivers could still be tested through blood and urine samples.

The Royal Gazette took to the streets of Hamilton to gauge public reaction.

A 50-year-old self-employed man said: “I think they need to get it up and running because it has the potential to save lives. I don’t drink personally but this still can affect me indirectly. I have children and family and they may become a victim of someone on the road who has been drinking and driving. It’s a big problem here because Bermudians love to drink.”

Dennis Lightbourne questioned how alternative methods might work.

“They could say they smell alcohol on your breath, but how are you able to prove that by the time you get to court? It didn’t make any sense to me when they said they were going to try to sell alcohol in the streets during Harbour Nights. To me it’s like they’re contradicting themselves. On the one hand they say don’t drink and drive, but on the other they encourage drinking in public. Then you drive down East Broadway and they want to stop you for impaired driving.”

Andre Simmons agreed. “They don’t do enough as it is and to not have it working is bad on their part. They should have back-up. This is the time of year when anything can go wrong because people are festive; they’re partying, they’re doing whatever. One ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. On a holiday weekend for them to let people know that it’s not working that’s another bad point on their part. They should not have said anything. If anything, they should have told people to beware of them.

“It’s too much drinking and driving, it’s too much road deaths, it’s too much neglect on the part of the police and the public when it comes to those situations. We can’t afford to lose any more young folk or old folk. Now that people know the machine is out of order, that’s like an open invitation to try and skirt the law, they need to sort out the alco-analyser.”

Shaketa Raynor, who works in the hospitality industry, said: “It was silly of them to let people know that the alco-analyser is not working because that’s just giving everybody a free-for-all. People will say ‘okay, I know it’s not working so I can drive recklessly regardless of the law’. So I don’t think it was smart for police to let people know that especially just before the holiday weekend.”

Boyle’s employee Kariim O’Connor said: “It doesn’t really matter to me because I’m not really a heavy drinker like that. But by letting people know that the alco-analyser is not working may make people think that they have more freedom or leeway in the courts if they have to go up for impaired driving. If the machine is not working they may just ask the judge ‘why am I here?’ They may even get off because there is no alco-analyser evidence.”

Electrician Jermaine Thompson said: “It really doesn’t make sense to me for police to reveal that kind of information. If you have something that’s not working, clearly you don’t want everybody to know that. At the very least they know now that they may not be prosecuted, as a lot of people look for ways out of it. And especially on a holiday weekend when a lot of people will be out drinking.”

Dennis Lightbourne
Kariim O'Connor
Jermaine Thompson
(Photo by Mark Tatem) Andre Simmons

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Published May 27, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 26, 2013 at 11:39 pm)

Public unimpressed by admission that alco-analyser is not operating

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