Concerns swirl over changes to motor vehicle import policy
At least one environmentalist has raised concerns about the impending amendments to the country’s motor vehicle import policy to increase the age limit of vehicles that can be imported into Jamaica.
The amendment would see new age limits for all categories of motor vehicles, ranging from six years up 30 years.
“So their argument is going to be that these higher environmental standards were introduced at a particular time and all they are doing is increasing the number of years to go back to that time and so, environmentally, it’s likely that there is not much of an issue.
“The issue is the older the vehicle is, the more expensive it is to maintain, and I don’t know why we are inflicting older vehicles on the Jamaican public that will cost more money to maintain in the long run. That is my concern. I don’t have an environmental concern,” said Peter Espeut, a development scientist and Gleaner columnist.
The move to amend the policy has, however, been welcomed by the president of Jamaica Agricultural Society, Lenworth Fulton, who said that it is a challenge for farmers to acquire appropriate motor vehicles to carry out their work as newer models are too expensive.
“We are not looking for luxury vehicles, we are looking for vehicles to use on our farms. So I welcome the change so that our farmers can afford it to do what they are doing, and to move agriculture into a modern age ... .The age of mule and donkey is outdated and for them to be carrying load on their head,” Fulton said.
President of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers Association Lynvalle Hamilton, said that the amendments were done in the interest of consumers.
“ ... [This move will] really help the consumers to purchase cars they would not be able to purchase had it been younger cars, because quite often, you have people who come on the lots and they are complaining that the cars are expensive,” he told The Gleaner yesterday.
When asked about how any environmental impact, he said that it was a consideration.
“It would have to be, but you have to weigh that against creating the opportunity because you do have those vehicles here, nonetheless. You have vehicles that are older than those vehicles operating on our roads, and the vehicles that are coming, a lot of them are newer than a lot of them here that are operating on our roads,” he said.