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More calls for Gov’t to extend traffic ticket amnesty

Tuesday, January 01, 2013    

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THERE are increasing calls for the Government to extend the six-month-long traffic ticket amnesty which expired yesterday and saw thousands of offending motorists packing tax collection centres since last Thursday to pay their fines to avoid sanctions.

The main Opposition Jamaica Labour Party, National Democratic Movement (NDM), and People’s National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) — an affiliate of the ruling People’s National Party — have all added their voices to the calls, citing the glitches that have plagued the ticket database since the amnesty began on July 1. The amnesty allows motorists to clear traffic tickets issued before September 21, 2010 without facing penalties.

Opposition spokesman on national security and justice Delroy Chuck said National Security Minister Peter Bunting should ask Parliament to extend the amnesty.

“...The current situation where so many motorists are making attempts to pay their outstanding fines at the same time means that more than likely many will not be able to complete the process today,” he said in a release yesterday.

“When the JLP Administration decided to have the amnesty it wasn’t a rigid decision to only have it for six months but to do an initial period of six months then assess it and have a another period where those who didn’t get a chance to pay their tickets could do so,” he added.

He said with the system plagued with glitches, “the Government owes it to the motoring public to reassess the system and extend it”.

Chuck was referring to many instances where the database shows persons as having outstanding tickets, although the payments have already been made.

“Some persons have large fees to pay and obviously there will be some difficulty in them accumulating the money in such a short time. If the Government is really interested in securing as much revenue as possible, then it wouldn’t hurt to extend the time,” Chuck added.

In a similar release yesterday, the NDM expressed alarm at the “poor record-keeping by the relevant authorities which is manifested by the high volume of names of persons who have already paid for tickets from as far back as eight years ago but are erroneously still in the system as unpaid”.

“In light of the amount of errors on the list of alleged motorists with unpaid traffic tickets and the approaching deadline for the ticket amnesty, the National Democratic Movement is calling on the Government/relevant authorities to extend the deadline and use that time to prepare an accurate list of those persons liable and immediately clear the list of all persons who have already settled their liabilities in the Traffic Court or tax office,” the NDM said.

The party also warned the State against potential lawsuits from citizens who erroneously appear on the Ministry of National Security’s website as “being delinquent”.

Meanwhile, the PNPYO — citing the “anomalies” in the system — said the Government should consider extending the amnesty by a month and include outstanding tickets issued up 2011.

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