Gas Thieves and Fine Shirkers To Lose Driver’s Licences Motorists who steal gasoline or diesel fuel and people who fail to pay certain court fines will lose their driver’s licences, under legislation introduced today, Oct. 19, by Justice Minister Michael Baker. An Act to Further Discourage the Theft of Gasoline and Diesel Oil requires the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to revoke the licence of a driver convicted under the Criminal Code of stealing gasoline or diesel fuel. The driver could apply to have the licence restored after six months. “This measure will provide another strong deterrent to those who might be tempted to steal fuel, especially during times of higher retail prices,” said Mr. Baker. “Is it worth losing the privilege of being able to drive for half a year? Certainly not.” An Act to Assist in the Enforcement of Court Orders also requires the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to refuse to do business with anyone who is in default on a fine or costs payable to the province, after a conviction under the Criminal Code or other federal law. Staff at registry offices will refuse to provide any service, including renewals for licences or motor vehicle registrations, for any convicted individuals in default on fines or costs. If the payment is still outstanding after 30 days, the person’s driver’s licence could be suspended until the fine or costs are paid. The act would not apply to people registered in a fine options program who are in the process of complying with a court order. “This legislation speaks to a fundamental principle: citizens must respect sentences handed down by our courts,” said Mr. Baker. “People must be accountable when fines or other costs are due.”
Sirisena succeeded Rajapaksa as leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party but has moved only belatedly to assert his control over the party and block his predecessor’s path back to power. Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Tuesday he was unlikely to lead Sri Lanka’s next government as initial results from the general election gave a slight edge to the coalition government.“I will support good policies and oppose bad things,” the two-term president, who crushed a 26-year Tamil insurgency in 2009, told Reuters by telephone from his southern home of Hambantota. Sirisena backed the formation of a minority government led by the United National Party (UNP) after January’s election and called the early election in a bid to form a more broadly based administration joined by his own supporters in the SLFP.Initial results indicated that the UNP was likely to make gains and emerge as the largest single party, but would need outside support to form a viable government to run the Indian Ocean island of 20 million people. The 69-year-old nationalist ruled out joining a unity government that President Maithripala Sirisena, the figurehead of a broad reform coalition that toppled him at a presidential vote in January, wants to form.