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The shame game

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I’ve been following with interest the rapid development of a Facebook page called Bad Parkers of T&T. It’s an online forum where the masses, armed with sophisticated wireless handsets, can all find a single destination for their pictures of people across the country who’ve parked in the worst way. Posters gather in droves to commiserate over what is yet another manifestation of the Trini “doh kear” attitude. 

Whether in shopping malls, or narrow side streets, the page provides the widest possible cross-section of offenders and innumerable locations of where these offences are committed. I laughed most heartily when I saw a photograph of a wrecker in downtown Port-of-Spain, illegally parked. The “photo-take-outer” reported that the driver of the wrecker had stopped off to get an ice-cream and threatened him for taking a picture of his vehicle. 

Visitors to the page are currently debating the legal implications of putting errant citizens “on blast” by publishing photos of licence plates. Well, here is some advice for the administrators. It depends on the context. It is true that a licence plate is widely exhibited in the public domain. So if a photograph of a number plate is taken in a public place, theoretically that should not present an issue. Here’s where the context comes in though. A photograph does not always tell the whole story.