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St Vincent opposition legislator confirms driving unlicensed vehicle for years

Published:Sunday | January 4, 2015 | 12:00 AM

A St Vincent opposition legislator has admitted driving a vehicle for more than four years without paying the necessary licence after Transport Minister Julian Francis told Parliament last month that a parliamentarian has been driving an unlicensed vehicle since 2009.

Member of Parliament for South Leeward, Nigel Nature Stephenson, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that he had been driving the vehicle since 2010, although he knew it was not licensed.

Stephenson said he has paid EC$20,000 so far for the vehicle.

The first time I bought the vehicle, it came as if it was already licensed. All that was done and, like the licence, everything was in place. But it was a year after, when I tried to go to get the documents to do it my own self, I couldnt get the documents, Stephenson said.

I infringed, I took a chance, I am not proud of it, but I just couldnt rest down the vehicle. Several times I asked for the documents and I was told (by the dealer) licence it in my name. I really didnt want to do that, he said.

I have no legitimate way of doing it. I didnt get the document. I took a chance. It is not something that I am really proud of, the former schoolteacher said.

Francis, speaking in Parliament last December, said there are persons in this country who, on a daily basis, deliberately defy the government of revenue. Deliberately. And very serious, high-placed individuals. There are persons who drive their motor cars, Mr Speaker, for months, for years, without licensing it, he said during the debate on the Estimates of Income and Expenditure for 2015.

He referred to the accident on December 6 where former Unity Labour Party supporter Edgar Cruickshank died after an unlicensed car crashed into a public meeting of the main opposition National Democratic Party.

People are not paying their licence, Francis said, adding that police caught 17 unlicensed vehicles in two hours in Argyle.

Mr Speaker, even in this House of Parliament, you have members who aint doing that. Even in this Parliament, from 2009 to 2014, not a single cent has been paid on their car licence and they driving it every day, Francis said.

Stephenson said he has since stopped driving the vehicle and plans to sort out the problem regarding the licence.

In January 2010, Storm Gonsalves, the then 17-year-old son of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, had to be flown overseas for medical attention after an unlicensed motorcycle collided with a passenger van.