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Calls for amnesty extension

Friday, November 03, 2017

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MOTORISTS with outstanding traffic tickets will have to wait at least another week to find out if there will be any further extension to the recently concluded amnesty.

Minister of National Security Robert Montague, in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, suggested the amnesty, which started August 2, would have been extended beyond closing date, October 31.

In his presentation, the minister said while the practice was that the House would have approved an extension at least a week prior to the deadline, the House did not meet on Tuesday, October 24, due to the holding of three by-elections on October 30.

“Therefore, I am going to be asking my colleagues in Cabinet to give consideration for an extension based on the overwhelming amount of calls to the Ministry, to Tax Administration Jamaica and to the police, for an extension,” Montague told the House.

He also explained that some persons were unable to put together the necessary funds to pay the required outstanding fees.

The minister may have also added to the confusion, by suggesting that he would be looking at a “small extension” of the window to allow those motorists to pay off the debt.

The decision, however, would not be likely until next Monday, when Cabinet normally meets, and then the Bill would have to be drafted and tabled and piloted through both Houses of Parliament.

During the Traffic Ticket Amnesty, Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) advised motorists that its systems were updated to allow payments for outstanding traffic tickets, dating back to September 2010. The payments could be made online at www.jamaicatax.gov.jm, using any valid internationally accepted credit card, provided that the traffic ticket number is reflected.

Additionally, persons were able to visit any tax office islandwide to make payments by presenting their traffic ticket or by providing the ticket number for easy processing.

During the amnesty period, the TAJ also opened on some Saturdays, starting August 12, at several tax offices from 10:00 am-4:00 pm, to facilitate the payment of traffic tickets.

But, despite these arrangements, a large number of motorists with outstanding tickets did not turn up until the last two days.

The Jamaica Observer's Auto magazine has learnt that the TAJ collected approximately $100 million worth of late payments over those two days.

As of Tuesday afternoon, some $471 million had been collected, and 168,690 tickets were processed from 45,000 phone calls to the call centre.

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