By Balford Henry
Senior staff reporter

Friday, October 11, 2019

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SINCE September, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has stepped up its campaign against privately owned public passenger transport operators who are breaching the current Road Traffic Act (RTA).

It is interesting that, across two Administrations, successive governments have failed to implement the RTA which was passed in 2016.

Minister of Transport and Mining, Robert Montague said the delay is primarily due to the failure of the Government's legal department to produce the necessary regulations. But that has not hampered the recently appointed head of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB), Assistant Commissioner Kevin Blake, from stepping up activities to bring taxi and bus drivers, in particular, under some form of control.

ACP Blake was assigned to the helm of the newly created branch after his predecessor, ACP Gary Welsh's brief stint in the post.

The PSTEB's latest report issued on Wednesday states that in a day, Tuesday, October 8, three traffic offenders were found guilty of failing to comply with a total of 1,500 traffic tickets.
One driver, Delroy Johnson of Rock Hall, St Andrew, who had three outstanding warrants and had accumulated 321 outstanding tickets, was fined $65,000 or 30 days' imprisonment. Johnson is scheduled to reappear in court on November 19. His driver's licence was suspended for two years.

Another, Ricardo Walters of 10 Miles, Bull Bay, St Andrew who had six outstanding warrants and had accumulated 461 outstanding tickets, was fined $147,000 or 30 days' imprisonment, and is to appear again on Wednesday, November 20. His driver's licence was suspended for one year.

The third, Roxton Montague, of Mike Town district in Manchester, who had five outstanding warrants and had accumulated 806 tickets, was fined $167,000 or 30 days' imprisonment and was offered bail in the sum of $180,000. He is scheduled to reappear in the Mandeville court on November 20.

The JCF's information arm, the Corporate Communications Unit, reported that all three drivers were accosted at a routine Vehicular Check Point being conducted within the Molynes Road, North Odeon Avenue, and Half-Way-Tree areas of the city.

The JCF's stepped-up drive started immediately after ACP Blake's assignment to the branch in September.

Among those who were charged during the month were: 26-year-old taxi operator Cleveland Dockery of an Arnett Gardens address in Southern St Andrew, who was reportedly stopped in Half-Way-Tree “and issued with a document for operating contrary to the terms of his road licence”. This resulted in the car being seized.

The police allege that Dockery had more than 100 unpaid tickets since 2018 for which 10 warrants were issued for his arrest.

There was also 53-year-old Rohan Williams of Crescent Road, Kingston, held with more than 1,000 unpaid traffic tickets and with three arrest warrants.

Then there was 40-year-old Roger Bartley, who was arrested in September with 1,028 outstanding traffic tickets, for which he was fined $84,000, and his driver's licence suspended for two years.

Also, 39-year-old Andrew Bailey of Tavern Crescent, Kingston 6, was held with 272 outstanding tickets and was fined $72,000 and had his driver's licence suspended for one year, and Duwayne Barrett of Stony Hill, St Andrew, who had 189 outstanding tickets and was fined $54,000 and had his licence suspended for two years.

The change of perspective seems to be taking its toll on the unruly drivers, as the branch has won wide commendation for its effective approach to the challenge. However, it is obvious that they need the support of the new RTA to complete the job.

In its latest statement, issued through the CCU, the PSTEB is insisting that it will remain relentless in in its efforts to detect and prosecute every individual who breaches the Road Traffic Act.

“Additionally, the police are reminding the public to obey all road codes to ensure the safety of all who use our public thoroughfares,” the CCU concluded.

Formed in August last year, the PTSEB is a merger of the JCF's Motorised Patrol and Traffic and Highway divisions aimed at improving social order and safe public spaces; improving compliance to the Road Traffic Act; and reducing crime in public spaces.

The division's headquarters is on Elletson Road in Kingston.

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