LETTER OF THE DAY - Traffic-ticket amnesty fiasco

Published: Thursday | July 12, 2012 Comments 0


ON TUESDAY, I heard a feature story on the radio about the traffic-ticket amnesty programme. I arrived at my office and heard several persons talking about the story and a few planned to check the website that was promoted in the radio programme to determine if there were any unpaid tickets listed against their licence/TRN numbers.

By lunchtime, there was a general uproar, amusement and bemusement among my colleagues. Most of those who checked the website had horror stories that illustrated the range of incompetence by the administrators and/or mistakes in the database that has been released for public scrutiny.

I decided to check my information that is in the database. Upon checking, the database showed that I had five unpaid tickets:

Speeding ticket - I have the receipt to prove that it was paid.

Defective headlight - I have never received a ticket for such an offence. The closest I came to such a ticket was four years ago in St Ann's Bay when I was stopped and told that I had only one headlight. The officer was kind enough to direct me to a nearby service station where I bought a bulb. The officer did not even check my vehicle documents or my driver's licence.

Improper right turn - I have never had a ticket for such an offence.

No valid certificate of fitness - The certificate had expired two days earlier and I have the receipt to prove that the ticket was paid the day after the ticket was issued.

No registration plate light - I have never received a ticket for such an offence.

Illogical answers

The website listed several telephone numbers that we can call to query the information. I telephoned several times and on the ninth try I was finally able to speak to someone and explain my findings.

The response was clearly devoid of logic or sense. I was told to provide proof to substantiate my claim. While I can provide proof of the tickets that were paid, how can one provide proof of events or actions that did not occur - the tickets that were never issued to me?

I recall the first speeding ticket that I got many years ago and the cashier at the collectorate advising, "Make sure you keep the receipt safe because the system has problems." Little did I anticipate that the 'problems' would persist for two decades.

The entire situation would be hilarious were it not for the serious consequences that the Government and its agencies can impose on me and others for the fictions that are in the database. Warrants can be issued for my arrest and the judge will more than likely believe the incompetent administrators rather than the members of the public.

Basil Cope

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