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Discussions reveal untidy traffic ticketing system

Thursday, January 17, 2019

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CONCERNS were expressed yesterday over the wide disparity between the 309,608 outstanding traffic tickets in the Ministry of National Security's database and to the 998,338 estimated by the Ministry of Justice.

The figures from the Ministry of National Security cover November 22, 2010 to December 2018, while the Ministry of Juctice's data represents the period January 2010 to December 2018.

The matter was the subject of extensive discussions at a meeting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) yesterday with senior officials of both ministries.

Senior court statistician, Dr Denarto Dennis, said it was not possible to fully rely on the data in the Traffic Ticket Management System (TTMS) administrated by the Ministry of National Security because there were a large number of deficits and inaccuracies that persist in the system.

He said the justice ministry, therefore, had to supplement data from that system with manual data from the courts, and that the figures it arrived at had a margin of error of plus or minus five per cent.

Dr Dennis noted that Kingston and St Andrew account for 63.2 per cent of tickets issued, followed by St James with 9.74 per cent, and St Catherine 7.2 per cent. He said the equivalent dollar value for the total outstanding tickets is $1.04 billion.

In a critical analysis of the data, he said that while the problem is multifaceted involving multi-stakeholders, “the nucleus of the challenges lies in the deficiencies in the TTMS system and other technical and operating deficits. The TTMS is really a police system that is ill-equipped by fundamental design and attributes to serve the direct needs of the courts both from a reporting and case tracking perspective. It is not a system in its current form that allows for efficient tracking of cases and their statuses as well as to track the statuses of important events that take place on the continuum of a case from initiation to disposition.”

According to Dr Dennis, the system could not reliably track the status of a warrant whether it has been issued or administered.

He also told the committee that there are deficits in the accuracy and adequacy with which updates are made to the system and transmitted to the courts. He said these gaps have resulted in judges exercising caution in issuing warrants as there have been instances of persons showing up in courts with proof that they have paid their tickets.

There were also concerns that synchronisation of the traffic ticket management among the slate of responsible Government agencies will not be ready in time for the enactment of the new Road Traffic Act in another two months.

Tax Administration Jamaica has been charged with coordinating the integration process to meet the requirements of the new Act.

Commissioner General of TAJ Ainsley Powell told the committee that the authorities are looking at a phased implementation of the system. He said with the many changes which were made to the new Road Traffic Act before it was finally passed into law, it had been difficult to determine what the specific requirements would be to prepare the new system.

“We are now in a much better position to make that decision…we did not know what would have been the final product, (for example) in the first draft of the Bill we had three types of licences, so if we had developed a system, we would have ended up with a system that is not in keeping with the Act. We were always behind the eighth ball in terms of the age of the system that we have,” he said.

– Alphea Saunders


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