Squeegee gets a 150 dollar fine and ordered to cease all further enterprise

His Gary AKA Lord Jesus. His street name is ‘Squeegee’. screenshot: Whaleoil

Gary AKA Lord Jesus made an appearance on Police Ten Seven this week. For anyone interested he can still be seen live, at least for another three days, before On demand terminate his episode once and for all.

Lord Jesus is a windscreen specialist who has been working at the lights since he was in his late teens. His popular street name is ‘Squeegee’.

He has worked for a grand total of twenty-seven years in Wellington and Auckland until, after being robbed, he decided to move down to Christchurch where he prefers life because in Christchurch he doesn’t get robbed.

But unfortunately, the road is full of people with little or no patience and new council legislation needed to be passed last year prohibiting all window-washing activity at traffic lights. This was due to reported complaints from the public.

The legislation was drafted as a public safety measure but doesn’t seem to include any discretionary powers for the police.

I reckon discretion is a very important and invaluable option for police to have at their disposal when keeping the peace. Not having the choice of discretion is in my humble opinion an example of badly drafted legislation.

The police officer involved in Squeegee’s illegal activity had no option open to him but to issue an instant fine and verbally warn him to cease all further enterprise towards earning a crust.

His Gary AKA Lord Jesus. His street name is ‘Squeegee’. screenshot: Whaleoil

Squeegee’s experience and humble approach to others means that he has never had any problems that he has brought upon himself, at least not when carrying out his profession. He pays attention to the lights, never asks anyone for money, and moves to the side of the road and puts his tools down whenever emergency vehicles are heard in the area.

If people’s enterprise is causing disruption to public order or safety then, of course, we want our police force to have the power to stop this activity on all levels of hire or reward.

But when we are deprived in our day to day lives of an honest fool with a loving heart then perhaps something isn’t right.

Imagine all the great moments a person like Squeegee has with people every day. I’m sure there are drivers out there who miss him already. I’m also sure there are many who have missed him entirely as they rocket through Northcote.

We can blame the overzealous local council who in a fit of power-hungry fervour pass sweeping bylaws. But perhaps this is more a reflection on our driving culture as a whole and the lack of patience and grace from some drivers you see every day on our roads.

I find most people are responsible and understand and respect good driving practice but there is, unfortunately, the impatient element that spoils it for everyone else. These are the people who cause problems, holdups in traffic, and ultimately injury or even death.

Denying someone the right and protection under the law when they are carrying out honest enterprise is not something to be taken lightly or left in the hands of bureaucrats. Perhaps the police are in a much better position to measure risk against the weight of public safety.  The absence of discretionary power for the police in trifling matters such as Squeegee’s is in my belief lazy, unimaginative and ultimately counterproductive to the public good.

I’m thinking there’s a fine line between maintaining public safety and risk mitigation: weighed against the freedom of enterprise and judging situations on their own merit.

If someone with little or no skills and experience in the workforce can earn an honest dollar performing a basic service, is this not something to be encouraged?

If windscreen washers are causing a nuisance or harassing drivers then they can be dealt with accordingly but prohibiting all such enterprise seems a little over the top.

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