Fri | Jun 9, 2023

Chang asserts Jan 31 deadline necessary for law, order

Published:Monday | January 30, 2023 | 12:05 AMAshley Anguin/Gleaner Writer


Despite howls of protest about the government’s refusal to extend the current traffic ticket amnesty deadline for motorists to pay long-outstanding fines, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang is insisting that the January 31 deadline is in place to help sustain law and order.

Speaking to journalists on Friday following a handover of new musical instruments at Irwin High School in St James, Chang said that errant motorists who either miss the deadline will put themselves at the mercy of our court system.

“Our judges are not wearing horns. All of them are highly trained professionals, and they understand the circumstances and will treat them well. But, we have to change the system, and we have to have a closure date, and the closure date is January 31,” said Chang.

“There is a concern that some people [will] miss the reprieve, but I want the country to be made aware that the vast majority have, in fact, paid up, and it is about those who have been caught at the end and we expect that whatever date you put there, there will be a few missing the date,” Chang added.

Last Thursday, the parliamentary Opposition suggested that the window for payment of tickets should be extended to April 30 to allow delinquent motorists time to pay their tickets. That call was dismissed by government legislators.


Speaking further to the issue on Friday, Chang stated that the majority of motorists with outstanding tickets have, to date, complied and paid the required fines, noting that taxi operators are not the only motorists who have flouted road traffic laws.

“There is a view to say that much of the indiscipline is from taxi drivers, but they are not the only people who are undisciplined. Speeding and bad driving are not confined to taxi drivers, but whoever is breaking the law is putting good lives at risk, and at the same time, disorder is a template for further criminal activity, so we have to ensure good order in the public space,” said Chang.

“The ticketing system was acquired in 2009, which is 13 years ago, and they kept talking about having an amnesty, but nobody put the effort to get the system working. It is a simple system, and the fines are relatively low, but it is a complex system to ensure that the connectivity between the police, road traffic, tax office, and the court system works, and each of those institutions requires a certain level of support and coordination,” Chang added.

“We were able to pull them together, and we now have an effective system which can be transferred to other areas of public order. It is just that those who miss it (deadline) will be louder than those who got it.”

The new Road Traffic Act takes effect on February 1.