Sat | Jan 19, 2019

When delinquency pays off

Published:Friday | November 3, 2017 | 12:00 AM
The Constant Spring Tax Office, St Andrew, is filled to capacity on the last day of a traffic ticket amnesty in this 2012 file photo.


Please allow me space to present an open letter to the minister of national security.

Mr Minister:

a huge amount of money has been collected, from the traffic ticket amnesty. That must be music to your ears. No doubt, there are others who have outstanding tickets but didn't get to cash in on the amnesty. Will it be extended to facilitate those persons and to prop up the Government's coffers even more?

It must be a win-win for both the government and those who breached the road code and were delinquent in paying the fines for years. The government collecting this relatively huge amount of money from traffic fines in three months will no doubt be pleasing for you. Due to the time value of money, if that money was paid by those individuals when due, it could have been spent to bring greater benefit to the government. The amount of petrol a seat-belt fine of $500 could buy in 2010, it cannot buy in 2017. That does not minimise the satisfaction you must feel from the success of this amnesty.

On the other hand, the delinquent individuals must be pleased to know that they can pay now for an traffic breach committed years ago without any penalty. Using the example above again, it's better to pay the seat-belt fine of $500 now, when it can buy less petrol than in 2010 when it could have bought much more petrol. In addition, the individuals will be pleased to know that despite the accumulation of traffic tickets and, therefore possible accumulation of points against their licences, that, too, will be forgiven.

Mr Minister, what then of those who paid their tickets promptly over the years? What will you be doing for them? If nothing is done for individuals who are not delinquent in paying their traffic fines, then it's clear that being delinquent pays. I doubt that's the message you would like to send to us.

I therefore suggest that you instruct the relevant authorities to expunge all accumulated traffic points from the records of all individuals who were not delinquent in paying their traffic fines. That, I submit, would be fair to them and would not legitimise the famous quote - "those who play by the rules get shafted."

That's the least you can do, Mr Minister, and have a clean slate for both the delinquent individuals who paid up during the amnesty and those who weren't delinquent in paying their traffic fines.

Jamaican Motorist