Business as usual

Published: Sunday | October 2, 2011 Comments 0
The traffic-fine scam has made its way from off the road and into the traffic courthouses.
The traffic-fine scam has made its way from off the road and into the traffic courthouses.
A policeman sifts through traffic records at Police Traffic Headquarters, Elletson Road, Kingston. Thousands of outstanding warrants exist at the traffic headquarters.- File photos
A policeman sifts through traffic records at Police Traffic Headquarters, Elletson Road, Kingston. Thousands of outstanding warrants exist at the traffic headquarters.- File photos

The Sunday Gleaner news team - with a traffic ticket in hand - turned up at the South Camp Road Traffic Court in Kingston and the Spanish Town Traffic Court last Thursday to investigate motorists' claim that they were being bribed by police and court workers.

Shortly after midday, the Corporate Area Traffic Court was buzzing. There was a small crowd in the courtyard, where persons waited for appointments and on the inside, individuals were being tried. A member of our news crew approached the front of the building and was asked what he wanted. He explained to an officer that he had missed both the payment and court date as stipulated by the ticket. The undercover reporter was directed to 'Room 2' in the building where a clerk would instruct him as to what he should do. In that room, a clerk of the court looked at the ticket and said that since the court date had already passed, the reporter would have to come back the following Tuesday or Thursday to fulfil his obligation.

It seems the scammers would not take a chance with a ticket with an expired court date.

offences

The reporter then proceeded to the courtroom to observe the activities. He was first searched by the officer before entering. In the courtroom, more than 20 persons waited for their cases to be called on. There were other officials from the courts, the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Transport Authority. The cases ranged from dangerous driving offences to parking. The sentences varied, the judge firm, but kind. When The Sunday Gleaner finally left, it appeared that all was routine at Kingston's Traffic Court.

Our news team then made its way to Spanish Town, St Catherine. The court there was closed for the day. An unidentified man at the courthouse told the undercover reporter that he would have to go to the clerk's office to get either a new court date or for the clerk to see if there was a warrant for his arrest. Our news team proceeded to the court's office. Inside was crowded with individuals seeking an ear from some helpful or some unhelpful civil servants. The reporter waited for a while and saw a police officer whom he approached. The courteous officer counselled the reporter on the way forward. The cop told the reporter that he should visit the traffic police headquarters on Elletson Road where he would be told what should be his next move.

tyrone.reid@gleanerjm.com







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