Government systems not ready for new Road Traffic Act

Carol Palmer, Permanent Secretary in the Justice Ministry and PAAC member Mikael Phillips
With less than three months before the new Road Traffic Act takes effect, it appears that Government systems might not be in place for the new legislation.
It was revealed during Wednesday's meeting of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) that systems for Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), the police and the courts which should be integrated, are not yet ready.
Carol Palmer, Permanent Secretary in the Justice Ministry, highlighted issues with the new traffic ticketing system.
"What we have is a traffic ticketing system that meets the needs of the police and it does not meet the needs of the courts.... The court is the adjudicating arm of the Jamaican society, and if we want the court to work well, it has to be involved in the plans and preparations that are being made for whatever system it is to work with," she asserted, adding that the court should be involved in the planning for the new traffic ticketing system. 
She said the issues have been referred to the National Security Ministry for adjustments. 
PAAC member Mikael Phillips agreed that if the new ticketing system is to work, every effort should be made to fix the coordination problems within the different entities involved its implementation. 
Number discrepancy 
In the meantime, a major discrepancy has been identified in the figures given by the National Security Ministry and those of the Ministry of Justice for the number of outstanding traffic tickets.
The figures represent traffic tickets accumulated between January 2010 and last month.
During Wednesday's meeting of the PAAC, the National Security Ministry said 309,608 outstanding traffic tickets were recorded.  
However, Senior Court Statistician Dr. Denarto Dennis said figures from the court show 998,338 unpaid tickets during the period.
This represents a value of $1.1 billion. 
"The largest proportion of this number is accounted for by Kingston and St. Andrew which actually accounts for 63.27 per cent of the total islandwide. They are followed by St. James, 9.4 per cent, St. Catherine 8.26 per cent, Clarendon 5.20 per cent," he outlined. 
St. Mary, St. Thomas and Hanover contributed the lowest proportion to the overall figure. 

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