The government of St, Vincent and the Grenadines is considering options for reducing the number of older vehicle imported into the country.

“Currently, there is a discussion before Cabinet regarding whether the government should increase the extent of the environmental levy on vehicles over 4 years old or reduce the number of years to, say, three,” Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told a press conference on Monday at which he said the budget for 2017 will be presented to Parliament in January.

“There are all sorts of things like that because there is some consideration of that,” Gonsalves said in response to a question about reducing emissions in the country.

The prime minister, however, said there are other critical areas for addressing environmental issues, saying that geothermal and solar energy are critical.

SVG is expected to commission its first geothermal power plant in 2018 and already produces about 20 per cent of its electricity using hydropower.

“So I don’t want it to [be said] that we focus just on the vehicles. There are other environmental issues away from climate change, such as the Styrofoam materials and so on and so forth,” said Gonsalves, who led a delegation to the high-level segment of the global climate change talks in Morocco this month.

“I am hoping that we will see one or two other things coming, emerging in the budget to address a number of things connected to what you are talking about,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, regarding emissions reduction.

“I know that people hear about any increase in the environmental levy for vehicles they will say no increase, it is difficult already. And I understand that. But sometimes, what we are doing is this: we are not giving duty-free concessions on vehicles, like those which are transporting school children beyond a particular age,” he said, adding that his government recently rejected an application for import duty waiver for a 15-year-old bus to transport students.

“These vehicles which are very old, the emissions can be terrible and it is just simply a question of driving behind them with the smoke that comes from some of them. They are real problems,” said Gonsalves, who told reporters that the government suggested that the importer buys a new vehicle, which he did.

“So we all have to be sensitive about these things. This is the only piece of rock that we have and we all have to try and do the best we can. Of course, the bulk of the problems come to us from outside, in terms of global warming, which affect us adversely, but I agree with you, we have to do whatever little bit we can for ourselves,” he said.

3 replies on “Gov’t weighing options for reducing imports of older vehicles”

  1. Ralph Gonsalves is aware that the problem of pollution come directly from his government policies. He knows that because I have written about dozens of time and I know he reads everything on IWN because it is instant news media of the very best quality.

    He is aware that his government allows hundreds of tyres to be burnt every week at Rabacca. More pollution is sent to destroy the ozone in one week by that than in a whole year for every motor vehicle in SVG.

    I have also written what is happening at the garbage tip and the pollution from Argyle airport construction works and when the airport is open the pollution to be fed straight into the sea.

    He is aware of those things and it is within his powers to correct each and every situation but he doesn’t flying off to Morocco spending multi thousands of dollars and talking rubbish when his ULP government condone and allow gross pollution of land, sea and ozone.

    What is happening in Saint Vincent should be classed as an international crime.

  2. Mitchell was the one who allowed these bangers to come in — locally called skettels — with all the negative consequences we now see.

    The ULP should (but won’t) ban all used cars, trucks, vans, construction equipment being imported except those that are critical to our needs like ambulances and government-owned construction equipment.

    We have an excellent private sector transportation system which only needs to be better regulated in terms of driver training, vehicle maintenance and safety, speeding, passenger capacity, etc. which should be encouraged to take up the slack of too many drivers and too many cars for such a small country with such poor roads.

    1. Putting a ban on used cars will only hurt the poor, which is 90% of us. Instead there should be an inspection process that demands used cars to be road-safe and such. If they are not, they have to be repaired until they are. If this is not done, a big fee has to be paid to dispose of or even sell the car to someone that can repair it to standards. This will slow imports of junkers but allow responsible people to import. There should also be duty-free on new tires so we stop importing bald tires to have tire-burning festivals. C.ben, as you already know, the problem in SVG is that our lazy government never gets around to passing laws that fit the country and its people. Instead the only new laws are for the wealth and power of the government….AT THE EXPENSE OF THE PEOPLE, such as the Cybercrime bill.
      The reluctance of the Government to fix the roads is another issue. All the pot holes causes people to import lots of parts at high duties, another source of wealth for the government, so why have fixing roads a priority?
      It also has a similarity to our poor Health System where lots of people have to fly to Trinidad for treatment at High Liat prices. Of course the Government gets lots of revenue from that so why fix the Health Care System?

      Personally I would suggest enacting legislation that creates jobs and products to sell abroad but the government wants no part of this because it takes some thinking and effort and would interfere with all the “playtime” overseas flights of the highest government officials.

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