(Jamaica Observer) Over 20 Government employees have been arrested over the past month, as the authorities clamp down on the pervasive motor vehicle licence racket.
Radcliffe Lewis, the senior superintendent in charge of the police traffic department, shared the figures with reporters following a service at the St Andrew Parish Church to mark the 20th anniversary of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC).
“For the past five months more than 20 persons have been arrested by Revenue Protection Division. I’m not going to say exactly [which area in Government they worked, but they are Government employees,” Lewis said.
The senior cop said that the racket is mostly being run in “collaboration with persons within a certain” Government-run agency. But he declined to name the agency.
Lewis’ comments follow a call by Rev Dr Howard Gregory, Lord Bishop of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands, during a church service, for the authorities to put an end to the illicit production and sale of motor vehicle licences and insurance documents.
The Lord Bishop made the call as he noted that the illicit practice was contributing to road fatalities, as, increasingly, unworthy drivers are finding themselves behind the wheels on the nation’s streets.
Following the service, Lewis said that the manufacturing and sale of fictitious drivers’ licences and other motor vehicle documents is a “widescale” problem. However, he said that various arms of the police force and Revenue Protection Division had been making headway.
“We know the magnitude of work to be done. A number of persons have been arrested in recent times as it relates to that,” he said. “We are getting there…”
Meanwhile, Lewis has moved to allay the fears of Portmore, St Catherine residents who believe that the police were seizing their vehicles parked along the sidewalk.
“I am a reasonable man and I know what it is to be living in an area where there isn’t much parking space,” Lewis said.
He said that the vehicles being seized by his men are derelict ones that have been parked on the sidewalk for years and those parked in designated recreational areas.
He said that more than 50 such vehicles have been seized and 38 persons prosecuted.
The senior cop said that he spoke with Portmore Mayor George Lee on Saturday night about the operation and that he was in agreement.