KINGSTON, Jamaica -- There are 45 Jamaicans driving around with over 500 unpaid traffic tickets likely worth millions of dollars, while 1,173 others each have between 100 and 499 outstanding tickets.
This was revealed on Thursday by Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Floyd Green, during the debate on the Road Traffic (Reprieve and Nullification of Prescribed Notices) Act.
The Act, which was piloted by Transport Minister Audley Shaw, provides a period of relief for individuals with unpaid traffic fines ahead of the new Road Traffic Act taking effect on February 1.
That period of relief runs from February 2018 to January 31, 2023.
During his contribution to the debate, Green, who has been tasked with overseeing the National Road Safety Council, pointed out that the majority of Jamaicans who receive traffic tickets pay them and pay them in the prescribed time.
He said it was worth noting that a traffic ticket only becomes outstanding if it remains unpaid at the tax office for 21 days and if the ticket holder fails to attend court to have the matter adjudicated.
He told the House that between February 2018 and December 2022, some 2, 371,494 tickets were issued by the police. Of that number, 1,666, 371 tickets were paid, amounting to 71 per cent of the tickets issued during the period. Green said only 46,000 Jamaicans have 106,070 tickets outstanding as of December 2022.
“The majority of our citizens honour their obligation to pay their tickets,” he emphasised.
Green explained that tickets acquired prior to February 1, 2018, will become “null and void” when the new Road Traffic Act goes into effect on February 1.
“All of those tickets will become null and void, we’re wiping away all of those tickets,” he said. He explained further that all demerit points associated with driver’s licences up to February 1, 2023 (accumulated over any period) will be wiped clean
“We will have no more points and we will start afresh,” Green said but there is a caveat.
Insisting that no amnesty has been granted, Green said “What we are saying is if you have an outstanding ticket, if you did not pay the ticket within the 21 days, if you did not go to court on the day your matter was mentioned, then the matter has to be dealt with through the court”.
“We are going to wipe away all the tickets from 2018, we are going to wipe away all the points. You will start February 1st afresh. But, if you want to treat with the matter you have to go to court to have the matter adjudicated on,” Green added.
He warned that under the new Traffic Ticket Monitoring System, delinquent drivers will have their licences suspended quicker than under the old system.
“Because this new Road Traffic Act is trying to get more stringent on how we treat with the road. The ticketing system is a way to ensure that persons are sanctioned for breaking the existing road code, it is a method to urge compliance, and to disincentivise non-compliance,” said Green.
And while acknowledging that individuals have complained about long lines and difficulty paying their traffic fines in the courts ahead of February 1, the government side brushed aside attempts by Opposition leader Mark Golding to extend the period of reprieve until April 30.
During his contribution to the debate, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang said delinquent motorists have had ample time to settle their obligations but never intended to do so.
He said they “broke the law and disrespected the court”.
- We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
- Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
- We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
- Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
- Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: email@example.com.