As the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) tackles the age-old problem of its members asking for and accepting bribes from motorists who break the Road Traffic Act, the local court system will have to remedy a racket that is reportedly happening under the nose of its judges.
The traffic fine scam has made its way off the road into traffic courthouses and is being done by both cops and court workers. The indecent proposals are made while court is in session or just before it gets underway.
A motorist, who asked not be named to ensure his safety, told our news team that he encountered the racket at the traffic courts in Kingston and Spanish Town.
The motorist explained that when he went to the Corporate Area traffic court on South Camp Road a man at the gate asked him the nature of his visit, then he was later approached by a man in a jacket who clandestinely made him the illegal offer. The crook, who was either an employee of the court or someone working in tandem with certain courthouse employees said he could make the $5,000 charge go away for less than what the ticket was worth. "The man said if I gave him the $2,000 he could get the ticket off the system," the motorist revealed.
"They have inside links," he added.
While on another visit to the traffic court in Spanish Town to deal with another ticket, the motorist was again singled out by a nefarious character stationed at the courthouse. This time the inducer was a cop.
Another motorist,Rasheed Walker, told our news team that his experience occurred some two months ago. Walker failed to pay the fine on the ticket and the court date had also passed so he called the Constant Spring Police station for advice on how best to sort out the matter.
The cop told him to visit the traffic headquarters at Elletson Road. When Walker visited the traffic police's HQ he was told to go the Traffic Court at South Camp Road and speak with "the lady at the window". The lady at the window told Walker he had two options - go into the court and plead guilty or wait until he was picked by the police on a warrant for his arrest.
Walker left the courthouse to contemplate his options. A man approached him in the vicinity of the courthouse and asked what had happened. Walker explained and the man sent him to a police inside the courtyard. After flashing his ID, the cop told Walker he could make his troubles disappear for $2,000. Walker accepted. "I gave him my money and the ticket and he said he is the man who carries the records back to the station," said Walker.
Walker now regrets his error of judgment. "I don't know if the ticket is alive and I'm afraid to go and check because I don't have my copy."
The motorist, on the other hand, confessed that he was enticed by the deals as one of the tickets was a $5,000 fine and the other was for a $7,000 charge.
"To tell you the truth, it was really tempting in both cases but I decided to go before the judge," the motorist admitted.
He did. The judge was lenient and charged him $2,500 for the $5,000 ticket.