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Traffic ticket amnesty rakes in $340m

Thursday, January 03, 2013    

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THE Government has netted some $340 million from the six-month-long traffic ticket amnesty, which ended on Monday.

Minister of National Security Peter Bunting said yesterday that more than 60 per cent of the almost $340 million was earned on the last day of the amnesty. The pardon, which came into effect on July 1 last year, freed motorists from additional fees and penalties on unpaid tickets issued prior to September 21, 2010, once they were paid in full over the period.

However, motorists waited until the last minute to take advantage of the opening with more than 21,000 people showing up at tax offices islandwide on December 31, causing some collectorates to call in staff who were on leave and remaining open until late in the night.

Yesterday, Bunting said that the ministry was well aware that some persons still did not take advantage of the amnesty.

"These persons will have to settle these tickets in the traffic court when sessions resume on Monday, January 7. Persons for whom warrants have been issued will first need to report to the police before going to traffic court," the stated.

In the meantime, special arrangements have been made for persons who had started the payment process at the Jamaica Constabulary Force Traffic Division, but did not get the opportunity to complete the process by Monday, as the system nearly buckled under the pressure.

"Those persons have already been issued stamped documents from the Traffic Division verifying that they had started the process of payment before the end of the amnesty. Such persons must go to a tax office with those documents before Friday, January 4, 2012 to complete the payment and secure the benefits of the amnesty," the ministry said.

As it relates to individuals who claim that they have previously paid fines for tickets which are showing up as unpaid, Bunting said the ministry, the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), and the courts will update and reconcile their databases to determine the accuracy of such claims. "Persons who have paid for tickets during the amnesty and are able to provide proof of prior payment they will be eligible for a refund," the minister said.

In the meantime, he said the public will be advised of any additional measures to be implemented to address the issue of unpaid traffic tickets after Cabinet has been briefed on the amnesty.

Bunting, meanwhile, expressed gratitude to the public officials, including members of the police traffic division, and TAJ, who he said worked assiduously to ensure that motorists were accommodated, especially in the last few days of the amnesty.

"I especially want to thank the team from the TAJ who worked particularly hard and well into the night to keep their offices open so that everyone could be accommodated and processed. They did a phenomenal job," he said.

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