Government to Recover Billions from Delinquent Motorists

Photo: Mark Bell Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck (centre), addresses members of the Standing Finance Committee in the House of Representatives, yesterday (March 2). The Minister is flanked by (from left), Attorney-General, Marlene Malahoo Forte; and Permanent Secretary in the Justice Ministry, Carol Palmer.

Story Highlights

  • The Government is seeking to recover billions of dollars from motorists with outstanding traffic tickets.
  • Some of the fines are expected to be collected through the serving of 70,000 warrants to offending motorists.
  • “We are putting in place the necessary checks and balances, so that when we arrest people, we know that they actually have not paid the fines, because we don’t want to make an error of arresting someone who has (already) paid the fine,” Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck said.

The Government is seeking to recover billions of dollars from motorists with outstanding traffic tickets.

Some of the fines are expected to be collected through the serving of 70,000 warrants to offending motorists.

Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, made the disclosure at today’s (March 2) sitting of the Standing Finance Committee in the House of Representatives.

He encouraged motorists with unpaid traffic tickets to “try and put it together soon” to avoid penalisation.

Mr. Chuck noted that he is currently in discussion with the Transport and Mining and National Security ministers on how best to deal with the retrieval of these outstanding traffic fines.

The Minister said the Administration is working to ensure that the process is conducted smoothly and efficiently.

“We are putting in place the necessary checks and balances, so that when we arrest people, we know that they actually have not paid the fines, because we don’t want to make an error of arresting someone who has (already) paid the fine,” he said.

He noted that before the execution of warrants begins, every effort will be made to ensure that the relevant authorities are properly notified when fines have been paid to Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) or in the courts.

The Ministry of Justice normally receives 18 per cent of traffic fines collected.

In the meantime, Minister Chuck reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to reducing the backlog of cases in the court system, this year, through the use of mediation, restorative justice and the child-diversion programme.

“We are also hoping to lay in Parliament, this month, the Plea Bargaining Bill that we are hoping can contribute significantly to guilty pleas and, hopefully, the reduction of cases in the courts,” he said.

The Minister also mentioned the Trust and Estate Management software that will be in place shortly at the Administrator General’s Department (AGD), which is expected to put a major dent in the number of outstanding matters.

“This will ensure that most of the cases at the AGD are dealt with within three months, and the backlog which they now have will be reduced significantly and cleared up over the next two or three years, certainly by 2020,” he said.

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