“NO!” was the short answer from minister with responsibility for information Robert Morgan, Monday evening, when the
questioned if the Cabinet was considering a traffic ticket amnesty to appease bus and taxi operators who had parked their vehicles all day to demand more time to pay for outstanding tickets.
“We are not going to capitulate to what is lawlessness and disruption,” said Morgan as he reacted to the withdrawal of service by some bus and taxi operators in sections of the island from early Monday morning.
Morgan had taken a break from the weekly meeting of the Cabinet to provide clarity on its earlier statement which implied, but did not clearly state, that no amnesty would be considered.
With transport operators vowing to step up their protest today if there was no positive word from the Cabinet by Monday evening, Morgan said, “They have a right to protest but not to block the roads.”
In its statement the Cabinet said that it has taken note of the protest by some transport operations in sections of the island and empathised with each and every man, woman, boy and girl whose lives were disrupted by this action.
“Cabinet also wishes to express appreciation to employers, school administrators and other stakeholders in nation-building who have shown understanding for their staff and students who experienced difficulties today.
“Cabinet wishes to emphasise that the Government and country will give no support for lawlessness and disorder and welcomes the significant rejection of today’s protest actions and demands,” the statement said.
It added that the Government stands with all well-thinking Jamaicans who have been expressing a strong aversion to the actions of a few to the detriment of the majority.
“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 statement added.
In a thinly veiled dig at bus and taxi operators who have picked up dozens of traffic tickets, the Cabinet said that in the context of high road fatalities and severe injuries on our nation’s roads, the Government must protect the commuting public and encourage discipline among the motoring public including taxi owners and drivers.
“The Government is undertaking the internal processes needed to effectively implement and enforce the new regime under the Road Traffic Act, 2018 and its 2022 Regulations in order to secure greater accountability and discipline on our roads.
“We call on those who are engaging in the disruption of the transportation services to recognise the Government will not relent in its efforts to build a better transport sector and calls on all law-abiding owners and operators to continue providing their services to their fellow Jamaicans going about their lawful business.
“We advise persons who have broken the law and, as a result, have unpaid tickets, to pay their fines as ticketed,” the Cabinet added.