Gov't announces amnesty for impounded vehicles
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
IF YOUR motor vehicle has been impounded by the Transport Authority, you could be in line to benefit from an amnesty.
Transport, Works and Housing Minister Dr Omar Davies yesterday announced a three-month amnesty commencing April 15.
"The objective is to clear the pounds," Davies said in a statement to the House of Representatives.
He said approximately 1,400 vehicles are in pounds across the island and that, for some time now, the number of seized vehicles in Transport Authority pounds has been increasing.
"The situation demands bold initiative as no party benefits from the present situation," Davies argued.
In the meantime, Karl Samuda, the opposition spokesman on transport, said the formula that has been announced by Davies is complicated.
Samuda said the Opposition had no problems with the amnesty and urged Davies to "be brave" as it will take "some amount of bravery to bring good order" to the public-transport system.
"There must be a rigid provision that there will be no further amnesty and if there is anyone who is going to benefit from this, if they are caught again, there will no tomorrow," Samuda said.
"As long as we do not apply the rules governing the use of vehicles illegally for transporting passengers, putting them at risk, while at the same time posing a great threat to the public bus service, the company will never be able to underwrite its cost, pay its statutory deductions in the existing environment in which it is operating," Samuda said.
Meanwhile, Davies had warned operators of public passenger vehicles that they must abide by the terms of their licence.
The minister told Parliament that some members on the government side have suggested that the terms of the amnesty may not be attractive, especially when the fines have accumulated over a period of a year.
Under the amnesty, if the valuation of a vehicle is greater than the outstanding fees, the Transport Authority will apply a 50 per cent discount to the amount of fees owed.
If the valuation is less than the outstanding fee, then the Transport Authority will seek to recover no less than the valuation amount.
Vehicles which remain unclaimed after the amnesty expires will be auctioned.
The amnesty will not apply to vehicles which have been impounded for up to 30 days.
The transport minister said a preliminary assessment of the outstanding fees and valuation suggests that the majority of the vehicles will have to be released at the valuation figure.