Persons board a minivan in Kingstown in June 2014. (Photo: Robertson Henry)

Six omnibuses checked by police over the past week are yet to produce their insurance certificates even as others have stayed off the road as police clamp down on uninsured vehicles.

Head of the Traffic Branch, Superintendent of Police Kenneth John, told I-Witness News on Thursday that traffic police will continue to be vigilant, as some of the buses checked had insurance certificates that were issued last Friday, when the checks began.

He further said that some of them were only valid for one month.

John further told I-Witness News that while the problem exists across St. Vincent, it is more prevalent on the windward side.

Police have begun to clamp down on uninsured vehicles, especially minivans, in the wake of a recent accident in Fountain involving three vans, two of which were uninsured.

Some 12 persons were injured in that accident.

John said driving an uninsured vehicle is a serious offence and anyone cause doing so will be prosecuted.

“So we are calling on all owners of omnibuses, ensure that your buses produce the insurance certificate to the Traffic Department or keep a copy of the insurance in your motor vehicle.”

He said that police officers began checking for insurance in Arnos Vale and some vans stayed off the road that morning.

John noted that first time offenders who drive an uninsured vehicle can be fined EC$750, spend six months in prison or be disqualified from holding a driver’s license for one year.

But he noted that if a passenger is injured in an uninsured vehicle, the passenger may have to sue the owner to get compensation

“And how many of the owners them have something to give them a compensation?” John said.

“We don’t want a repeat of what happened in Argyle in 2009,” he said in reference to the Dec. 31, 2009 accident in which three people died when a minivan overturned.

The van was later found to be uninsured.

“We don’t want a repeat of Fountain Gap just months ago; we don’t want a repeat of where a child in Leeward was struck by a van and the van didn’t have insurance,” John further said.

“So we are calling on all omnibus owners to insure their vans. Insure your vans or we are going to take them off the road. … The driver and the owner will be charged,” John further said.

He further urged the public to be patient with police during the checks.

“It is for their own good and their children good. … As head of the Traffic Department, I am not going to sit aside and watch this go like that. I am going to do everything possible to ensure that every vehicle that goes on the road here, they must be licensed, and they must be insured,” John said.

10 replies on “Minivans parking up as police check for insurance”

  1. why don’t they make it mandatory that license and insurance are carried in the vehicles at all times so when stopped by the police it can be presented and everything check ova and done with,we need to get with the programme

  2. Just how in this day and age can you license a vehicle without showing it’s insured?
    It should be tied together, easiest way to ensure it’s done.

  3. Jasmine Derrick says:

    It should become mandatory that license issuance goes according to your Motor insurance policy. For example a car plate is P1111 which should be license in January, then you present an Insured certificate expires in March of that year, the license issued should also expire in March, and so on…….. this is one way of solving the Motor Insurance saga….

  4. C. ben-David says:

    What about private vehicles? I am sure that hundreds of them are uninsured as well. And what about starting to collect income tax from the tax evaders who number in the thousands?

    If the state collected the various types of revenue from those who owe it, import duties and VAT — taxes which hurt the poor the most — could be reduced considerably.

  5. THE VOICE OF ONE says:

    How about mandating that Insurance Companies IMMEDIATELY inform the Traffic Department whenever a vehicle’s insurance policy expires or is cancelled?

  6. Eric Williams says:

    All of the comments so far are missing the mark. This clam down on insurance is exposing the true state of the Vincentian economy. People are broke and don’t have money to pay these exorbitant premiums. I am sure private vehicle owners are the worst offenders.

    For these Mini Bus owners to maintain valid insurance year round, the bus fare would have to be increased considerably and the government is unwilling to grant them and increase. This will surely result in a crisis. The only solution is to raise the bus fares or grant Mini Bus owners a considerable discount on gasoline and diesel, otherwise, van owners will just insure their vehicles for a month or two, prior to registration.

  7. It’s been ages since SVG vans have been operating with out insurance. Is it the norm of an undeveloped nation? May be so, but taking people are calling for more laws with out knowing the true consequences of an over-regulated system; this takes away freedom that many takes for granted. I say that it’s good for vans to have insurance, but as long as the government or government officials are not the ones who are benefitting, but rather the general public.

  8. Christopher says:

    In most parts of the world where I have lived and driven,the licensing of motor vehicles, insurance and inspections are tied togather. an insurance copy should not insure a vehicle if it has not pass inspection and licenced. SVG need to revise and modernise its motor licensing, insurance and inspection system. Too much nonsence is going on. There also need to be regular road blocks at random places to check all motorist validity and speed control.

  9. Cindy walker says:

    What about the hundreds of government vehicles on the roads with no license and no insurance. Why should patients and health care providers travel in the ambulance when it is not road worthy? What if San accident happens? Well it has happened before and left nurses with permanent damage and huge medical bills….

  10. Brian Alexander says:

    CINDY WALKER’S argument seems to be ……..”since some government vehicles are not insured, there is no reason to check on mass transit vehicles.”

    How nonsensical could one become?

    Actually, CINDY WALKER is a liar! ….There is no way that “hundreds of government vehicles are on the roads with no license and no insurance.

    How ridiculous could we be? ….Why are some Vincentians such ridiculous LIARS?

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