Drivers put on alert

Drivers operating vehicles on Barbados’ roads without insurance have been put on alert that they will soon be on candid camera.

Senior Minister Dr William Duguid, a former Minister of Transport and Works, sounded the warning yesterday in the House of Assembly during debate on the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Road Traffic (Registration Fees) Order, 2018 (Validation) Bill, 2023.

He said there were “thousands” of people driving unlicensed and uninsured cars on the road at the time the fuel tax was imposed, and cameras in operation on some roads had managed to record this lawbreaking.

Duguid shed light on this matter while explaining why legislation related to fuel tax was introduced to counter culprits who were not paying vehicles registration fees or insurance.

He told Parliament cameras are to be affixed to gantries which will be set up at key points along Barbados’ roads to record information electronically, which will be important in identifying the culprits.

He, however, did not say when this process will be completed.

The Road Traffic (Registration Fees) Order, 2018 (Validation) Bill, 2023 was passed. It validates all registration fees paid and collected by the Barbados Licensing Authority (BLA) pursuant to the Road Traffic (Registration Fees) Order, 2018, during the period of September 14, 2018, to the date of commencement of the Act.

Duguid also suggested that the system of learning to drive could be changed to one where there is a series of approved instructors who log the amount of hours a student does. Based on that student’s experience and ability, the instructor would become the “de facto” testing officer who can recommend the student for a licence, rather than the student having to go through the kind of tedious testing process currently in place at the BLA.

Meanwhile, Minister of Transport and Works Santia Bradshaw suggested there could be future adjustments to fees charged to make up for revenue lost with the removal of road tax and replacement by the fuel charge.

She said this was necessary to cover increasing administrative costs, but stressed she was not aware there would be any increase in fees at this point. (GC)