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Security minister announces plan to use cameras to clamp down on traffic violators

Observer West reporter

Thursday, September 13, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Montego Bay motorists are being warned that soon they will no longer be able to successfully plea with the police for leniency when caught breaching traffic light signals, as the violation will be recorded immediately at the Inland Revenue Department.

Security Minister Dr Horace Chang announced recently that cameras, fitted with licence plate identification, will be mounted at traffic signals in the tourist resort city to detect breaches for which guilty parties will be penalised under the new Road Traffic Act.

It is customary for, especially cabbies, to “run traffic lights” in Montego Bay.

“...And coming with that we will be installing traffic cameras with licence plate identification that with the new Road Traffic Act, if you breach the traffic light, you are going get a ticket,” Dr Chang stressed.

“And you can't beg off your way, don't care how much (police) friend you have. Don't look for poor Mr SSP Wayne Campbell or Mr ACP Donovan Graham to ask them to relieve you of the traffic ticket because it is going straight to the tax office, and when you get there you won't be able to license your car or buy ... well you won't get through at the tax office until you pay your traffic ticket, because the traffic ticket will be linked directly to the revenue centre.”

Chang anticipates that initially, defiant motorists are going to feel the pinch, but will eventually become compliant.

“I guess in time you might have some people getting hurt, so everybody just obey the traffic signs and you will be good. You give the police less trouble on the road,” Dr Chang advised.

The national security minister, who is also Member of Parliament for St James North Western, told a town hall meeting in Montego Bay recently that a $25-million traffic management system is currently being installed in the city “to ensure better flow”.

“The traffic management system downtown is proceeding, it is not yet ready, they have in fact been synchronising the lights. The fibre optic cables are in place for the main road and additional fibre optics will be installed. They have a budget of $25 million,” Dr Chang noted.

He underscored that the largest part of work left to be completed before the system is up and running, is for it to be tied to a traffic management system inside the St James Municipal Corporation building.

“I think that the major thing to be done is that they must be linked to a traffic management centre at the municipal corporation building,” he said.

President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce Winston Lawson welcomed the new Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and “is looking forward to its effectiveness in St James”.

He argued that the expansion of the port will allow for thousands of additional cruise stopovers, and as such will create additional demand for mobility from the tourists, who will desire to visit the various attractions of the city and surrounding communities.

“The additional demand for mobility, that is transport, will understandably result in greater congestion, sometimes gridlock, on our roadways a situation not uncommon in the present circumstances,” Lawson posited.

Mayor of Montego Bay Councillor Homer Davis said, “a branch of it (Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch) will be coming to Montego Bay soon”.

He embraced the expected establishment of the Montego Bay branch, as he commended the police for their monitoring of traffic in the city, especially in the mornings, since the start of the new academic year.

“I think the police are doing their best to minimise, but having those additional personnel down here to focus primarily on traffic and the public space, it will go well for Montego Bay,” the mayor stated.

“Anything that is put in place to alleviate the traffic and to bring some level of public order to Montego Bay, I am in full support .”

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