The mayor of the Belgian city of Ronse issued a new decree. Any one finding himself in a public place within the city limits holding an opened can of beer or soda can be subject to a fine up to 375 euros (!). This via the system of “GAS-fines” (read my article named “And justice for all” – 27th March 2015) instated by the government so citizens can be fined by lower municipal officials avoiding the hassle to give people a fair trial in front of courts, and giving the power to mayors to decide what they define as unlawful behavior even if that is not written in any voted law, and sometimes even contradicting current laws. Every locality in Belgium has now its own do’s and don’t’s and nobody is ever able to know the peculiarities of every place in the country, so everybody is a potential sponsor for this illegal money-making scheme set up by our national politicians.
The mayor of Ronse declared he took the decision because of the nuisance caused by certain people buying cans of beer and soda and then throwing it away in parks or on the street. It seems to me that now every one drinking a soda on the street is designated as a criminal by his decree. As far as I know we already have laws against illegal dumping of trash, maybe vigorously enforcing this law would be the more sensible thing to do?
The mayor insisted that not all bearers of opened cans would be fined, and even the amount of the fine would be subject to the evaluation of the fining official. When I grew up I was taught that laws and rules apply to every one, now I can imagine people being discriminated for color or race in all impunity, or people being fined whenever an official has a bad hair day or some quarrel with his spouse at home.
Big irony is that the city of Ronse is promoting herself for tourism with offering visitors regional beers. So whenever one of these tourists dares to open one of these bottles or cans he just received from Ronse with a smile… the city can recoup her investment in the gifts right on the spot!
Where is Belgium heading to? Where is the silent majority except accepting politicians to instate an illegal and unconstitutional system to fine and punish citizens? Where is the equilibrium, where is the neutrality and the blindfold of lady Justice? Where is the people’s voice of those same people who are supposed to be protected of the state’s arbitrariness by their laws? Why is there so much apathy?