Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili today attended the presentation of a newly installed traffic camera system of the Interior Ministry's Patrol Police. He took interest in the details of how the system works. The president personally looked on as "auto-hooligans" violated traffic laws.
Patrol Police employees explained to the president that the central part of the city was completely covered by the camera system. They said that 400 CCTV cameras had been installed throughout the centre and that more cameras are currently being installed in Varketili and Gldani. A total of 1,000 cameras will be installed by the end of the year, making it possible to detect traffic violations everywhere in the city. Saakashvili spoke to journalists at the presentation.
"First of all, I would like to say that this is truly a cultural revolution from the standpoint that relations between drivers and the state are completely changing. Only the world's most developed countries have such systems. We are establishing this system in our country as well and we will see this endeavour through to the end.
"Look at the changes that have taken place: we have replaced pot-bellied cops dressed in rags who extorted money from people with an electronic system that can remotely monitor our city's motorways and we have given the police all the resources that they have today. I can say without exaggerating at all that we have one of the world's best and most refined such systems in the world. We can be proud that we have achieved quite a lot in terms of upholding order in society. I personally am very proud of this," Saakashvili said.
A senior Patrol Police officer explained fine assessment procedures to the president. He said that people who violate the laws will be served with citations at their homes. Those who don't pay their fines will face even bigger fines. If the law-breakers don't pay these fines either, their cars will be confiscated and possibly sold off. When a car is sold, the amount of the fine will be transferred to the state budget from the amount received and the remaining sum will go to the car's former owner. Saakashvili also discussed the list of prisoners up for presidential pardon submitted to him annually and said he would carefully scrutinize each case.
"I would like to discuss the issue of prisoner pardons. A few days ago the pardon commission submitted to me a very long list of people serving sentences in the nation's penitentiary system up for pardon. The previous day at a shop on Leselidze Street criminals killed 36-year-old Patrol Police officer Mamuka Gogoladze. He left behind a wife who is eight months pregnant. The criminals, one of whom had four convictions on his record, were sheltered by a disgraceful part of our beau monde.
"In general I am not against pardoning - on the contrary, each time I sign a pardon it gives me great pleasure. But criminals who are dangerous to society should not be free to roam the streets, as happened in this case.
"I take a very principled approach to this issue. A person who is dangerous to society does not seek to be reformed and does not justly deserve to be released must serve his entire sentence. He should not be released no matter what lobbying is done on his behalf, no matter what friends he may have in parliament or what friends or relatives support him.
"That is why I will carefully scrutinize these lists, study each case in detail over a long period of time and consider them in a transparent manner. I will use my right to pardon prisoners on a limited basis, as is the case in normal countries. If we are a society with have dignity and honour, then we must respond appropriately to people who kill our police officers!" Saakashvili said.
of the President of Georgia