By Balford Henry
Observer senior reporter

Friday, November 08, 2019

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OWNERS of motor vehicles involved in Road Traffic Act (RTA) breaches stand a chance of losing them, if accumulated tickets are unpaid.

According to the Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck, this is one of the provisions in the long-delayed RTA, which he predicts will come into effect early in 2020.

“If the tickets are not paid by the owner, the vehicle will be impounded until they are paid, so I would urge the owners to see that they are paid up as quickly as possible,” Chuck told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

The minister admitted that while some provisions have already been implemented, some essential areas are still awaiting the approval of the regulations.

“The current legislation is quite inadequate. We worked hard to get the new Act approved and we did that a year or two ago, but for one reason or another a lot of it require further regulations, and even though some of the new Act has been in place, the full implementation will not come before January 2020,” said Chuck.
He said one of the major basis for confusion in the current system is that there are four government ministries dealing with the Act: the Ministry of Transport and Mining (MTM); the Ministry of National Security (MNS); the Ministry of Finance and Public Service; and the Ministry of Justice.

MTM is responsible for the operations of the transport system, mainly through the Transport Authority (TA) and the Island Traffic Authority (ITA); MNS is responsible for the police who monitor the traffic breaches; the Ministry of Finance collects the payments for the breaches; and, the Ministry of Justice is in charge of the courts which try the cases and issue the warrants.

Chuck also blames errors made by the various agencies in transcribing the information about the drivers, the vehicle and the breaches for causing some of the delays and confusion.
He noted that a “fair” amount of the errors, occur at the tax offices in transcribing the tickets, in terms of noting that the tickets were actually paid or not.

“So over the years, the judges have become very reluctant to sign warrants because of the possibility of errors in the ticketing system,” he explained.

“We have been stuck in a manual system, and we are now working feverishly to put in an electronic system, so we won't have to deal with many errors, because all the courts are going to be provided with computers which will link the police with the courts and the tax office. Once the ticket is paid, there will be notification and it will be removed from the system,” he said.

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