Get the dodgers! - Police instructed to target cheating commercial motorists for tax revenue
Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
Errant manufacturing, security, private ambulance and funeral home operators have three weeks to regularise vehicles being used in their commercial operations or they could be prosecuted.
Labelling the operators as "traffic revenue dodgers", head of the Police Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent of Police Radcliffe Lewis, said yesterday that instructions have been given to the traffic police and Transport Authority personnel islandwide to begin the clampdown next week.
"Outside of performing our duties as police officers to serve, protect and reassure, our duty also is to protect revenue that falls under the Road Traffic Act and the Transport Authority Act and a lot of revenue is being lost through this illegal operation," said Lewis.
In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, Lewis said the relevant traffic authorities and the police will be working together to ensure that vehicles operating commercially are licensed as such.
"There is a large amount of manufacturing, security and private ambulance companies and funeral homes operating with private plates instead of commercial plates," the head traffic cop said.
"We are going to ensure that they are in full compliance of the Road Traffic Act. They will have three weeks from now before we begin to take action against them," he added.
Under the Road Traffic Act, a vehicle being used for hire and reward must be licensed for that purpose.
Lewis said companies found in contravention of the law would have the licence plates of the illegally operated vehicles removed, or the vehicles seized and the owners liable for prosecution under the Road Traffic Act.
"Companies that are operating in contravention to this act, I would regard them as traffic revenue dodgers, because they don't want to license their vehicle as commercial but it is being used as such."
"My warning to those operating illegally is to regularise their business by going to the Transport Authority and get the required licence, or they will face the penalty," Lewis said.
In the meantime, Brian Pengelley, president of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA), said he is not aware of any member of his association operating commercial vehicles without the proper licence.
"The JMA is a law-abiding organisation with law-abiding citizens, so if there is an issue they would need to deal with it," Pengelley said.
"I would strongly advise any member who is in breach of this law to comply as quickly as possible."
It is not clear how much money is being lost yearly due to the practice of commercial operators failing to properly register their vehicles as commercial carriers.