Saturday 17 August, 2019

New procedures for used vehicles to take effect

Milton Desir, Kennedy Francis

Milton Desir, Kennedy Francis

The Ministry of Transport and the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) have introduced new measures to take effect Monday pertaining to used vehicles imported into the country.

The two entities are hoping that the new measures will address the failure of owners of these vehicles to register them.

The issue of the imported vehicles not being registered by their owners has been a concern of the traffic department of the police force for some time now.

Deputy Police Commissioner Milton Desir told reporters today that owners of some of those vehicles drive off the port claiming they will register the vehicles but never do hence causing problems for police officers should those vehicles find themselves in situations calling for an investigation by police.

What obtains at the docks now is that used vehicles are released by SLASPA when their insurances for the year are paid along with all Customs and Excise taxes.

That will change come Monday in that the vehicles will not leave the docks until registration and licensing are paid as well.

“All vehicles leaving the port will be issued with a sticker, meaning you will have to go to Transport Board, register your vehicle and be issued a license plate number. The vehicle owner will then have to proceed to the production of those plates. Those plates will have to be affixed to the vehicle and the sticker as well before the vehicle can leave the port,” said Port Police Chief Kennedy Francis to reporters today.

This means, and Deputy Police Chief Desir affirmed, that vehicle inspectors would now have permission to inspect vehicles while they are on the docks.

“What we are seeing all the time are police officers having had cause to deter a vehicle after it has left the wharf. What we would like to see going forward is that the requisite registration and all documents are in place when a vehicle leaves the wharf,” Desir said.

Come Monday it also means that the demonstration (DM) plates issued to vehicles leaving the port on their way to a garage for inspection will no longer be given since inspectors are now on the docks to inspect used vehicles.

 The two entities say they will cooperate fully to ensure that the new procedures are effective.

Saint Lucia, over the years, has seen a sharp increase in the importation of used vehicles, an industry that Francis says continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

He noted that in the early years of the industry one boat loaded with used vehicles would enter the country every six weeks, however, in recent times boats loaded with vehicles come in twice monthly, sometimes three to four times monthly.

“On each voyage, you could see about 60 to 100 used cars and the number of new cars as well,” Francis said.

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