The Government has sent a strong signal that it will not bow to demands from the island’s public transport operators to implement a traffic ticket amnesty, this following Monday’s withdrawal of service and at times ugly protest by the operators.
“We advise persons who have broken the law and as a result, have unpaid tickets, to pay their fines as ticketed,” said a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
Many students, teachers and other commuters were unable to get to their respective schools and other locations on Monday, as transport operators withdrew their services in a bid to force the Government to grant an amnesty to facilitate the payment of outstanding traffic tickets.
Some transport operators and their associates were also observed in videos removing passengers from taxis and buses of other operators who opted against protesting.
In expressing sympathy with those who affected by the protest action, the Government declared that it “will give no support for lawlessness and disorder,” and said it “welcomes the significant rejection of today’s protest actions and demands.”
The protest seemed to have been mainly confined to the Corporate Area and sections of St Catherine and Clarendon, with reports of pockets of taxi operators withdrawing their services in other parishes.
“All well-thinking Jamaicans are concerned that these actions have not only demonstrated a disregard for the need for citizens going about their lawful business to get to work and school, but have also demonstrated complete disdain for law, order and discipline,” the OPM statement said.
Given the high number of road fatalities so far this year, the Government said the commuting public must be protected, and said as such, the motoring public, including bus and taxi operators, must maintain discipline on the roadways.
“We call on those who are engaging in the disruption of the transport services to recognise that the Government will not relent in its efforts to build a better transport sector,” the release further stated.
The Government also implored law-abiding owners and operators of businesses and other organisations to continue providing their services to fellow Jamaicans going about their lawful business.