Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Chuck: Traffic violators may be jailed at Up Park Camp after amnesty

Published:Friday | December 1, 2017 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
Senior Superintendent of Police Calvin Allen, sitting in the witness chair, while speaking to (from left) Chief Justice Zaila McCalla; Delroy Chuck, Minister of Justice; Malgorzata Wasilewska, Ambassador, Head of EU Delegation to Jamaica; Judge Pansy Primo-Griffiths and Superintendent Courtney Coubrie at the handing over ceremony for the New extended Traffic Court Facility at 2 Melbourne Road, Sabina Park in Kingston yesterday.

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has announced a plan to collaborate with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) to house traffic violators who fail to capitalise on a new traffic ticket amnesty deadline set for January 14, 2018, at Up Park Camp.

Chuck was speaking yesterday at the handover of two new courtrooms at 2 Melbourne Road, Sabina Park, in St Andrew, which are to be utilised in tackling Corporate Area traffic offences.

“Motorists with five or more tickets have no respect or regard for the system as some persons are using the court process as a delay tactic. They feel that with the numerous delays and inadequacies in the court system, their matters will never be addressed, and ultimately, they will not have to pay fines. I have news for all those traffic violators: no longer should you bank on delays. We are fighting back through a systemic approach to the upgrading and modernisation of our courts. The rule of law will be upheld,” said Chuck.

“When this amnesty is finished, if they fail to deal with these tickets, the warrants will be executed by the police, and they will be arrested. There are tens of thousands of these traffic violators, and the jails across the island may not be able to hold them. I have already had discussion with Major General Rocky Meade to start making preparations, that when the amnesty is over, if these traffic violators [don’t pay up], they may very well be arrested and taken to ‘Red Fence’ Up Park Camp until the court can deal with them.”

VASTLY INADEQUATE

Those who pay outstanding tickets will have penalties waived and a recommendation made for their slate to be wiped clean of previous traffic offences.

Currently, there are approximately 100,000 outstanding warrants for road traffic violations.

Some of the persons who take advantage of the amnesty extension will have warrants vacated.

Senior Superintendent of Police Calvin Allen, who is in charge of the Police Traffic Division, told The Gleaner that the previous set-up of just one courtroom was vastly inadequate.

“With the number of tickets being issued on a yearly basis (roughly 450,000), the facilities at the Traffic Court at Camp Road are inadequate. We welcome this additional space, where there is greater convenience for persons to go and treat with their issues. We (at the traffic division) welcome it wholeheartedly,” Allen said.

In the meantime, Tax Administration of Jamaica says that its system has been modified to accommodate payments for outstanding traffic tickets issued between September 2010 and October 31, 2017.

Persons may make payments online at www.jamaicatax.gov.jm with any valid credit card or by visiting any tax office islandwide. They should be ready to present their traffic tickets or provide the ticket numbers for easy processing.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com