FOLLOWING the expiration of a 30-day warning for owners of unclaimed vehicles stored at police stations islandwide to remove them, the National Security Ministry is making good on its threat to have them auctioned.
Head of the Services Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Acting Commissioner of Police Leon Rose, told the Jamaica Observer that since the notice appeared in the print media in mid-August, only "a few persons" had come forward to claim vehicles. On that basis, he sounded the death knell.
"There will be a series of auctions, and within the next month we will be able to commence these auctions. We have identified in excess of 100 vehicles. It's far more than that, though, but in the first instance that will be it," ACP Rose said.
He said the number accounts for motor cars as well as motorcycles.
"We have also identified our auctioneer and the requisite documentation is being put in place and will be in the press shortly to commence the actual auction," he said further.
The newsaper notice advised that failure on the part of owners to make arrangements for the removal of their vehicles from the stations within 30 days would result in the JCF taking necessary steps to dispose of them. It also said that vehicles which were not the subject of pending police investigations or court proceedings were exempt.
Speaking to the Observer in August, ACP Rose expressed disgust that police stations had become "junkyards" for unclaimed vehicles — some of which have been immobile for years.
"Over several years many police stations have really become a junkyard for some of these vehicles and it is imperative that we get rid of them. We are targeting vehicles that are three months and over and are not subject to current police investigations," he said at the time.
"Police facilities are not gazetted to be storage areas, this is why the law makes provision that these properties that are in the custody of the police can be removed by public auction. But we are, first of all, giving owners of these vehicles an opportunity -- as the law says -- to collect, and failure to do so will see us taking steps open to us under the Constabulary Force Act to have a public auction," ACP Rose said.