Easy does it as traffic ticket amnesty kicks into gear
The first day of the three-month traffic ticket amnesty began without much fuss yesterday, but few made use of the opportunity in its early stage.
In anticipation of the usual late rush, Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) has scheduled extended opening days at eight of its collection centres to manage the flow during the closing days of the amnesty period.
"The tax administration department will have eight of its larger tax collection centres open on Saturdays to facilitate payment under the amnesty," said Meris Haughton, director of communications at the TAJ.
Branches that have extended days include Constant Spring Road, Montego Bay, Spanish Town, Savanna la-Mar, Mandeville, May Pen, St Ann's Bay, and Portmore.
These offices will be open the last three Saturdays in August, the last Saturday in September, and the last three Saturdays in October.
"The tax administration department has put the necessary things in place for this amnesty. The staff has been briefed on the particulars, so we really don't expect any undue delay once persons come to pay," Haughton said.
"We'll do an assessment to see if we need to open more centres the closer we get to the end of the amnesty period, but at the moment, we do not see any untoward issues regarding the plan we have in place."
ONLINE PAYMENT OPTION
TAJ's systems have been updated to allow payments for outstanding traffic tickets, dating back to September 2010. Payments can also be made online at www.jamaica-tax.gov.jm.
In the meantime, the island's top traffic cop, Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, is urging persons with outstanding tickets to make use of the amnesty. He said that doing that would make for a clean slate in time for the rollout of the new Road Traffic Act.
Persons who cannot afford to make a one-time payment will benefit significantly during the amnesty period as they can make payments over the life of the amnesty.
Allen stated that no demerit points would be assigned to offenders. He said that any outstanding warrants would be made void once the fine is paid, as per the amnesty bill.