May 31, 2020

TCI: Ban on old cars


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By Hayden Boyce From The Sun TCI

[TCI] Government is about to slam the brakes on the importation of old cars, mainly the popular Japanese right-hand drive vehicles or 242s, as they are popularly called.

Premier and Minister of Finance Hon. Sharlene Robinson said in her budget speech on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019, that the ban will be on vehicles 10 years and older.

“We will be seeking to ban cars at certain age and will seek simultaneously in lowering the import duties on newer cars as an incentive,” the Premier said.

Several other Caribbean countries have placed restrictions on importing vehicles above a certain age largely because of environmental issues and vociferous complaints from established new-car dealers.

The demand for affordable vehicles together with Japan’s huge used-car market has created a lucrative industry for exporting and importing second-hand Japanese vehicles in the Caribbean.

The Premier said Government is developing and advancing a Motor Vehicle Importation policy which has multi-pronged approach to addressing the issues of derelict vehicles throughout the islands and decreasing the volume, age and fuel emissions of vehicles imported to the Turks and Caicos Islands. 

She noted that the Turks and Caicos Islands currently does not have in place an effective and enforceable regime for the disposal of imported vehicles at the end of their working lives, therefore vehicles are abandoned and left at mechanical workshops or remain on the owner premises or in “make-shift graveyards”. 

She added: “It is not uncommon to see abounded vehicle in vegetated areas along streets and unpaved roads throughout the Islands. In these conditions this defacement of the environment has become ‘eyesores’. This also becomes a health hazard as it further becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes, rodents and pests. When vehicles are disposed of, they are deposited at public ‘dumpsites.’ The accumulation of derelict vehicles and car parts results in crowding of public dumps by competing for space with other wastes. This sometimes result in wastes being deposited on roads leading to dumps, which further brings down community aesthetics.”

The Premier said there is a concern that these older vehicles have a much shorter life span and after short periods become derelict, thus creating a financial liability for the government to dispose of these vehicles.

“(It) may have a potential to create environmental issues, particularly where there is no environmental impact levy imposed within the Turks and Caicos Islands law or policy,” she said. 

Mr Speaker to this end, we will be seeking to ban cars at certain age and will seek simultaneously in lowering the import duties on newer cars as an incentive. Mr Speaker this work is well advanced and the people of this country will hear more on this initiative soon. Meanwhile Mr Speaker, I wish to assist the Minister of Home Affairs and the Road Safety Department by encouraging Turks and Caicos Islanders to enter the public transportation sector whether as bus and/or community cab operators.

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