Grenada Road Tax: Is this system fair?

Having been 11 months away from Grenada I arrive back the day before the country’s general election to find my vehicle (which was garaged for that period of time) un-insured and with an invalid road tax license disc -both of which expired at the end of June 2012.

The very next day I went to the insurance office to renew the insurance policy for 12 months then went off to the road tax (revenue) office to purchase a new road tax license disc only to be told at the cash desk that I also needed to have a vehicle inspection certificate.

Having been told where I needed to go to have the vehicle inspected and that it was alright to drive the vehicle there; I went the very next day to have the vehicle inspected.

On arrival I was told to reverse the vehicle onto what I prefer to describe as a bay. The chap carrying out the inspection did not say much and was very abrupt; he went like this: turn your lights on; turn your beam on; turn it off; turn your indicator on – left; turn it on – right; sound your horn; switch your wiper on.

He went to the rear: turn your lights on; turn it off; drive forward and press your brakes; put your vehicle in reverse. He came back to the front of the vehicle: switch your engine on; open the bonnet. He then wrote the vehicle reference down on a small slip of paper and said take this to the office. Which I did – got the certificate and took it together with the vehicle insurance certificate to the tax office on the Carenage.

The usual queuing up took place and I paid for a 12 months road tax license disc; queued up a second time got the road tax disc and went home only to find out when I got there that the license tax disc was dated 2012 and expires in June of 2013 (it is only valid for 4 months). Yes that is correct. I paid for a valid 12 months road tax license disc on the 20 February, 2013 in Grenada and was sold a disc that is pre-dated 8 months. How ridiculous!

Naturally, I went back to the office the very next day waited my turn and said to the chap (a policeman) they must be some mistake; I have been sold the wrong dated tax disc.

The youngish looking officer initially tried to be polite but could not help displaying his arrogance and lack of discipline when I exercised my rights and challenged what I saw as a corrupt and fraudulent system when he told me because of the vehicle registration number the road tax given to me was correct.

The vehicle was first registered in the month of June (never mind the year) and because it is not June as yet I have to be given a road tax license for June 2012.

I cannot understand what the vehicle registration number has to do with when a new vehicle road tax license is purchased also it would seem that this corrupt system that is currently in place does not allow one to even purchase a 6 months tax disc.

I asked the man: “Are you telling me that I purchased a road tax disc yesterday paid the full 12 months fee and it becomes invalid in 4 months?”

“Are you telling me that in 4 months time I have to have my vehicle inspected all over again, pay for inspection and yet another road tax licence?

When he said yes; I made it clear that it was not the end of the matter and I intended to take it higher. Off he went and started dribbling on about you can talk to my boss; the Sergeant, the Commissioner of Police etc.




Frankly, I cannot see what any of those people (those who administer the system) can do about a policy that is in my view fraudulent and needs radical change by politicians and perhaps an act of parliament.

The vehicle road tax license system currently operating in Grenada is in desperate need of change; it is old, corrupt and out-dated. A new and fairer system needs to be brought into place – one that makes sense and fits into the era we live in.

When I went to take out the vehicle insurance policy I was given one for 12 months starting from the 19 February (the day I renewed it). One expects no less from the vehicle licensing authority. Vehicle insurance and license is for allowing one to legally keep or drive that said vehicle on the highways, one don’t need either document to own a vehicle or to have it kept on private property.

In Britain if one takes their vehicle off the road for whatever reason or if the vehicle is sold one can apply for a refund base on the amount of months left before the license expires. One can apply for a 6 month road tax license or a 12 month road tax license disc which becomes valid from date of purchase.

This system has nothing whatsoever to do with when the vehicle was first registered or the date it was last licensed unless the application for renewal coincides with the invalid date.

As a matter of fact one is sent a reminder around the beginning of the month that the license expires and one can easily re-apply on line or by phone and the new vehicle license tax disc comes to you in the post within a week.

Grenada needs a similar and simple system that encourages people to purchase a valid road tax license if they have or want to keep a vehicle on the public highways, also a system that allows people to pay for usage of the highways and not penalise them for ownership of a vehicle regardless.

The system should also give people the choice of purchasing a license for 6 months or 12 months. Had the fraudulent system allowed for a 6 months road tax license in my case I would have at least had the opportunity to purchase a tax disc that is more realistic and fair to my current needs.

Finally, if one purchases something then in any right thinking society that operates a purchase law that item is theirs for keep should they wish to do so. So why does the licensing authority of Grenada keep the vehicle inspection certificate? Why does it become the property of the licensing authority and not the purchaser who is charged $30EC for the pleasure of having their vehicle inspected?

This again is all wrong also the test certificate should be valid for 12 months which should allow the holder to obtain a valid road tax license for that said vehicle at any time during the 12 months period provided the vehicle is insured.

The current system that is operated is prejudicial against the motorist as it penalises individuals two fold – you have to purchase a 12 month road tax license even if it is only valid for 1 month (based on the vehicle’s first registration) but before you do, you have to have your vehicle inspected; then at the end of that month when your license runs out you have to do it all over again.

What this means is that within the space of 4 or 5 weeks under the system currently operating in Grenada, a motorist could be forced to have a vehicle inspected and paid for twice at a cost of $60EC and also apply and pay for two separate vehicle road tax licenses costing $550EC. Absolutely ludicrous!

 

Winston Strachan

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