ST ANN'S BAY, St Ann — Anthony Anderson made the drive from Montego Bay to St Ann Monday morning and by 6:00 am he was at the courthouse ready to clear up his overdue traffic ticket so he can avoid further penalty. But up to late afternoon he was still there, growing increasingly worried that the wait may take him well into the night.
As the law stipulates, he had to go to St Ann as that was where he committed the traffic breach. So after much pleading with his employer, he said, he got a day off from work to deal with the issue. He said he may have to ask for another day off if the ticket is not dealt with in night court.
"Them a say me fi brace fi night court," he told the Jamaica Observer at the courthouse where a larger-than-usual crowd gathered for much of the day. The pile-up at the courthouse spilled over into the streets, causing a traffic jam.
Anderson was sceptical that night court would be any less challenging to navigate.
He, like others waiting, complained bitterly that the process was taking far too long and argued that the location appeared to be understaffed.
"Right yah now them need more people here because a lot of people deh here wah get through and due to how the place clustered up them can't get chance fi mek nobody look pon them paper. Everybody a say them wish them coulda go a tax office," declared one man who said after three hours at the courthouse he had made no progress.
The man, who declined to provide is name, also said he had adjusted his work schedule and is worried he may have to return another day.
Motorists with overdue traffic tickets have been told there will be no more extensions after the January 31 deadline. Many operators of public passenger vehicles are on the list of those with lengthy lists of tickets.
On Monday, Anderson pointed out that he is among numerous motorists affected who are not working in the transport sector.
"Everybody a say is a taxi man thing. A nuh taxi man thing alone because most a who me see here so, you can see seh a regular nine-to-five people them same way, put off them day fi come deal with this," he asserted.
He called for more resources to be put in place to make the process smoother for those trying to clear up their fines.
"If the Government have to get more people fi come deal with them thing here, deal with it; and stop have people a run up and dung like chicken with them head cut off!" he complained.
When asked if an extension of the January 31 deadline is necessary, Anderson offered a resounding "Yes".
He pointed out that some people are still recovering financially from the COVID-19 pandemic and may have a challenge paying the fines. He conceded, however, that some have found themselves in this uncomfortable position because they racked up mounds of tickets and failed to pay them.
"But at the end of the day it still go back to the system," he said.
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