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Residents’ anger over garage parking

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Road rage: residents claim vehicles parked at Cardoza’s Garage, along Mission Road, Paget, block the flow of traffic, but owner Mark Sousa argues that the road is private and that the Government “cannot show clear title to the road” (Photo by Akil Simmons)

Owners of approximately a dozen cars parked in the vicinity of Cardoza’s Garage in Paget have found parking tickets stuck to their windows over the past two weeks.

The ticketing by Police is the latest chapter in a saga that has been going on for several years, which has seen area residents claiming that the vehicles parked mainly along Mission Road while waiting for service at the garage or collection by their owners block traffic flow.

The complaining residents, most of whom live on the road and believe their homes have been devalued, are at odds with garage owner Mark Sousa, who argues that the road is private.

Police spokesman Dwayne Caines confirmed yesterday that cars had been ticketed in the area, with a focus on Mission Road.

“The Bermuda Police Service is working in conjunction with a number of Governmental agencies as well as Mr Sousa to find ways to deal with outstanding issues in that neighbourhood,” he said.

Mr Sousa said: “The ownership of the road is in dispute.”

He claimed that Government had wanted to take the over the road in 1963 when there were plans to use it as access for a proposed hotel on what is now the site of the Gilbert Institute school, but had failed to follow the correct procedure.

“Government cannot show clear title to the road,” he argued.

He said his garage had been located at the Mission Road site for 70 years.

“It’s the oldest, constantly operated garage in Bermuda,” he said.

Mr Sousa was charged with offences 13 months ago in regard to cars parked in the area and he appealed the drafting of the charges to the Supreme Court. That case was heard on April 1.

The charges against him were that he had unlawfully prevented the public from having access to “any part of a highway” — Mission Road — “by excessive and unreasonable temporary use”, and also “by so dealing with the land in the immediate neighbourhood of the highway as to prevent the public from using it securely”.

In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Mr Sousa said that there should be a minimum threshold in identifying the key acts in the charges he is alleged to have committed.

Chief Justice Ian Kawaley, in his ruling released in April, said: “But, on balance, I feel that the nature of the offence, and the factual background against which it arose, did make it necessary for there to be some further particularisation of what the Appellant was accused of doing personally, whether by act or omission, other than simply reciting the bare elements of the offence from the statute.”

He sent Mr Sousa back to Magistrates’ Court to seek clarification of the charges against him.

Mr Sousa said he had gone back to Supreme Court last month, once again appealing the wording of the charges.

“It’s much ado about nothing,” he said. “We take ourselves far too seriously.”

Parking tickets: Police issued penalties on Mission Road (Photo by Akil Simmons)