Gov’t to decide on amnesty extension
PETER Bunting, Minister of National Security, announced that Cabinet will decide on whether there will be an extension of the previous traffic-ticket amnesty.
He was speaking at a press briefing at the Ministry's offices in New Kingston, St Andrew, on Wednesday.
Bunting said the government is working to reconcile the databases of the Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ) and the island's courts, to add all traffic tickets that have been paid on both systems. He said the consolidation process should be completed by February, after which Cabinent would make a decision on the amnesty.
"All those 127,000 tickets that were settled during the amnesty, we're going to upload those (to the database). We have a huge project going on where we've gone to the courts and we're going through their manual-based system and we're doing the data entry to bring the tickets settled at the courts onto the electronic database," he said.
The Security Minister said that the final stage of the process is to resolve those cases involving persons who say they have paid their tickets, but those tickets are still seen on the system as unpaid.
"We will be setting up machinery to resolve those tickets that are being contested. When that is complete, Cabinet will decide, after looking at all the data, whether it makes sense to have another brief amnesty or whether we can go forward with making the payments in the courts, as what is in place now," he said.
Bunting also said that he had asked head of the Traffic Department, Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis, to refrain from enforcing arrest warrants on those tickets until "we are confident that all the payments are reflected and brought current".
During the course of the six-month amnesty, the Government settled approximately 127,000 tickets and collected just under $350 million.
Mr. Bunting noted that just about 96 per cent of this activity took place in the last month of the amnesty and 60 per cent took place on the last day.
"I think it tells us some lessons, if ever we were looking at another amnesty - forget six months, you don't need more than a month or maybe two weeks, because that's when all the action takes place," he remarked.
The Security Minister also noted that there was a general misunderstanding surrounding the purpose of the amnesty website, which has caused much confusion among many Jamaicans who say their names have been listed among traffic ticket delinquents on the website, even though they have already made outstanding payments.