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Government Senator admits to driving without valid driving permit for four years

Government Senator admits to driving without valid driving permit for four years

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Less than one month after it was revealed that an Opposition parliamentarian had been driving an unlicensed and uninsured motor vehicle for almost five years, information has surfaced which indicates that another parliamentarian had been driving for the last four years without a valid driver’s licence.

SEARCHLIGHT has in its possession, documents which indicate that Government senator{{more}} Luke Browne only paid{his driving permit for the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, on January 5, 2015 — just over one week ago.

When contacted, Browne, who is parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture, admitted to the late payments, explaining that it was only sometime after his birthday on October 4 last year, that he discovered that he had not held a valid driver’s licence for the last four years.

“When I came back from university in 2009, I paid my licence for five years, I didn’t pay it directly, but I had it paid for five years and I thought that that would have been paid five years going forward, from 2009 to 2014.

“It so happened that they applied the payment to the period when I was at university, when I was not here and I was not driving and did not have a vehicle, that is, between 2005 and 2009.

“So, I had no knowledge of that, but after my birthday last year, when I attempted to regularize the situation, to make the payments and so on going forward, the agent who I sent told me that they said that there were some arrears,” he explained.

The senator said when he discovered he was in arrears, he tried to get the payment taken out for 2005 to 2009 waived, because he was not in the country during that period.

“Be that as it may, it didn’t materialize as I hoped and I just decided to pay it,” he added.

When questioned, Browne admitted that during the period 2009 to 2014, he was never in possession of the driving permit card issued by the Licensing Authority, which indicates the expiry date of the permit.

He also explained that he did not pay the arrears immediately, as he was trying to get a waiver.

“I still have a reservation, because… I think, based on information I have, there is some possibility for people to be exempt from payment during a period of time when they were away.”

When asked if he regretted the situation, Browne said, “This is not the optimal situation; I try to do my best in everything, and that will continue to be the case.”

According to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, any person driving a motor vehicle who is not the holder of a driving permit is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of $2,500.

On December 18, 2014, while making his contribution in Parliament to the 2015 Estimates, Government senator Julian Francis disclosed that an Opposition parliamentarian had been driving an unlicensed vehicle since 2009. That parliamentarian turned out to be parliamentary representative for South Leeward Nigel “Nature” Stephenson.

In a statement issued on January 9, Stephenson publicly apologized for his wrongdoing (see page 4).

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace also condemned Stephenson’s actions, saying he had instructed him to immediately pay all outstanding registration fees, insure the vehicle and rectify its legal ownership issue, and appear before the political party’s disciplinary committee on January 20, 2015.

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