Motorists who missed the September 30, 2019 deadline to have the Barbados Licensing Authority’s registration tag attached to their license plates will not be prosecuted.
This announcement has come from Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who said that she would be granting a one-month amnesty.
At the same time, Mottley has hinted that insurance companies could soon be collecting payments for licences on behalf of the Barbados Licensing Authority.
The Prime Minister said she has already had discussions with the Attorney General Dale Marshall to offer motorists an amnesty to obtain the stickers, explaining that while the intention was to extend the deadline to “the beginning of November”, Government would make it formal in coming days.
Motorists were facing a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months, or both under the Road Traffic Amendment Bill 2018 for a person who uses a motor vehicle without a valid registration sticker affixed on a rear registration number plate.
“This morning I have asked the Attorney General to speak to the Commissioner of Police and to indicate that there shall be no efforts to prosecute anybody and that we will bring legislation, a one-clause bill if necessary, to ratify the decision not to prosecute anybody who has not gotten their registration in time, and that gives people until the beginning of November. So that people can do this in good order and in good time,” explained Mottley.
“These are the kinds of nimble decisions that we have to take as we see things evolve. We are not just going to do it just idly so because it is the law, but we can bring a one-clause bill that ratifies and creates an amnesty for this month. We need to get it right for next year, even if it means that the insurance companies have to do the collection on behalf of Government,” she hinted.
Currently, the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) is responsible for the collection of the licensing revenue in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance.
The Prime Minister was addressing the high-level Barbados Sustainable Energy Conference 2019 at the Hilton resort this morning, where a number of local, regional and international stakeholders gathered to discuss measures aimed at making Barbados 100 per cent dependent on renewable energy by the year 2030.
On Monday scores of motorists stood in snaking lines outside the BRA offices as they tried to meet the September 30 deadline to get the tags.
However, many of them were unsuccessful due to the long lines. It was compounded by the fact that Monday was also the deadline for employees and pensioners to pay the second half of their Pension Income Tax for last year.
In light of the recent delays due to long lines, the BRA has appealed to those renewing private vehicle registrations to use the drop box option, in an effort to reduce the lines at their offices.
BRA’s Manager of Communication and PR Carolyn Williams-Gayle explained that individuals would then be contacted to collect their stickers or to resolve any issues if any arise.
She said those registering vehicles for the first time must go to a cashier to have these transactions processed.
In an immediate reaction to the news of the amnesty, Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley told Barbados TODAY he was in total agreement, but he expressed disappointment that the Minister of Transport Works and Maintenance was not the one to make that call.
“I have paid my insurance and that is proof enough and I am paying out of my liver at the pumps when I purchase gas, so the interests are being served,” said Atherley.
“I am in total agreement with her. But I don’t know why the Prime Minister had to get involved in those things. Ministers surely should be able to oversee those processes. That is an administrative thing, almost clerical. The Prime Minister does not have to come and intervene in those matters. But it seems she must intervene if they are to get done and that is a little bit disappointing,” he said.