No support for taxi strike in south-central Jamaica

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Taxi associations in Manchester and St Elizabeth on Monday distanced themselves from their colleagues in sections of the country who withdrew services, demanding a traffic ticket amnesty.

It was business as usual in Manchester and St Elizabeth where taxi operators remained on the job.

President of the Southern Taxi Association Charles Powell told the Jamaica Observer that he was not in support of the strike.

“I am not supporting it; if you get a ticket and don’t pay it and you don’t go to court and defend it [that] is your choice. Nuff of the members, both public passenger vehicles and private vehicles operators, they get ticket and they just crush it up and throw it away same way,” he said.

“They don’t know that one day it is going to come back on the system for you to pay and you pay the price, so the price now is either you never pay, so the consequence is a warrant out for you. I have no apology to say more than if you don’t pay, you pay the price…,” he added.

President of the Central Manchester Taxi Association Shirley Johnson said the majority of his members are not in breach.

“Most of my members don’t have any outstanding tickets, because most of them have their badges so for them to get their badges they have to clear up all of their tickets,” he said.

President of the North East Manchester Taxi Association Ruby Parton said her members are focused on earning ahead of the fast-approaching festive season.

“We are not going on any strike up here, as far as I know. I talked with the [operators], they say it is Christmas and they have to buy food for their children. They are saying if one man gets a ticket, he should go and pay for it. You can’t pile up your tickets and then you can’t even find a receipt if you paid for tickets. We are not getting involved in that,” she said.

In 2012, the Government declared an amnesty that ran from July 1 to December 31. Some $340 million was collected.

A second amnesty, which was declared in 2017, yielded $846 million. At the time, the Government said more than $2 billion in unpaid tickets was uncollected.

Under the amnesty, delinquent traffic ticket holders are allowed to pay outstanding sums without the threat of prosecution, while accumulation of demerit points and warrants are rendered null and void.

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