Following his call to restrict older vehicles back in 2019, Transport Minister Kye Rymer has announced that his ministry is now drafting the legislation that will make it more difficult for persons to import vehicles that are 10 years and older.
Speaking on Claude Skelton Cline’s Honestly Speaking radio show on October 13, Rymer said the Customs Act will likely be amended to make the restriction legal.
“We have been looking at older vehicles — left-hand, right-hand and we are working on legislation at this moment to restrict the importation of vehicles after a certain age. If you still want to import them, the duties would be significantly higher,” Rymer explained.
Certain older vehicles are frequently imported because of affordability. But many are not fuel-efficient and are known to emit large amounts of carbon which contributes to global warming.
During the radio appearance, the minister was asked if the government would consider placing a full ban on older vehicles instead of restrictions.
In response, Minister Rymer said a full ban is not being considered because many people import older vehicles for personal and sentimental reasons.
“You give the option because there are antique vehicles as well. You may see one that is 10 or 15 years old and you may still want to have it as an antique so you give persons that option,” Rymer explained.
He said the legislation would give different rules for trucks and heavy machinery that are usually durable after 10 years. Rymer also reiterated that a ban on older vehicles is necessary because the BVI does not have a proper disposal system for derelict vehicles.
Last year, the Department of Waste Management had announced that it was still experiencing challenges with a number of derelict vehicles since the 2017 hurricanes devastated the territory.