Miller rails against licence fees waiver

| 29/04/2019 | 68 Comments
Cayman News Service

Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller

(CNS): Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller has taken aim at the government for waiving what could be more than $6 million in outstanding vehicle registration fees owed to the public purse. He said the amnesty was “beyond unacceptable” when at the same time the Government of National Unity had engaged lawyers to pursue sick and elderly people who are struggling to pay their medical bills. “I am disappointed to see that the amnesty includes a waiver of the backlog of licensing fees, given that transgressors should be easily trackable in a timely way based on properly maintained file data,” Miller said.

He said the decision to offer a blanket amnesty was really to clear the slate for government as much as it was to benefit car owners because it had failed to enforce the law in the first place.

Last week government announced a six-month, no questions asked amnesty, which began Monday, allowing all vehicle owners with unlicensed, derelict or even lost vehicles going back to Hurricane Ivan who still have the plates to bring them into the DVDL and wipe the slate clean.

Joey Hew, the minister responsible for roads and vehicles, said it was an opportunity to rid the island of abandoned and unsightly vehicles because any cars not going back on the road should now be taken to the dump for scrapping.

He said the amnesty would also help people who have avoided licensing their cars because of a fees backlog and clean up the country’s near 80,000 vehicle registry, where almost half are said to be unlicensed. But Miller said this waiving of millions of dollars in fees was all the more troubling because government was at the same time prosecuting Caymanians through the courts for health costs and was choosing to let these fees go to address its own mistakes.

“By waiving the large backlog of licensing fees, the government is falling back on the politically motivated non-punitive, forgiving position because they have found themselves facing the embarrassment of not having insisted on the enforcement of the law as fees become due,” the opposition leader said. “This consistent neglect of duty is what leads to the breakdown of respect for the law.”

With government facing the discomfiture of this huge backlog, he said, he could “accept a waiving of prosecution once outstanding fees are paid up in immediate response to the amnesty. But even then,”the government would be turning a blind eye to the fact that operating an unlicensed vehicle on the road is a criminal offence under the Traffic Law”.

But he said an amnesty on all “unpaid licensing fees, is beyond unacceptable; it is unconscionable”.

Miller asked the government, “How can we justify prosecuting people through the courts because they were sick and could not pay bills while we waive unpaid vehicle licensing fees and deprive government of substantial revenue which is needed to maintain the roads?”

With more than 37,000 unlicensed vehicles on the DVDL register, with some going back to 2004, Miller questioned how the department got into such a mess.

“Where is the administrative accountability of the Department of Vehicles and Drivers’ Licensing for the collection of the fees and the RCIPS for the enforcement of the law?” he asked.

“This demonstrates the perennial problem of successive Cayman Islands governments: the lack of enforcement of the laws on the books fully and properly and in a sustained way,” Miller added.

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Category: Government Finance, Politics

Comments (68)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s BS about most vehicles being scrapped. I personally have a family member who had a vehicle, the last time it was licensed was when I did it in 2012. He sold the vehicle last year I believe…the car was still on the road; parked every now and again. But that just goes to show you…there are people who really don’t give a hoot about the law or enforcement.

    • Anonymous says:

      One aspect of this whole debacle that we are missing is that licensing is not just a revenue-earning exercise — it serves to ensure that vehicles are maintained in a roadworthy state.

      Driving vehicles that are not roadworthy is a danger to the driver and other road users, including pedestrians.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I can’t read all the comments; maybe someone has said this already. I do like the two tiered amnesty idea. But I don’t think we should be having an amnesty for this in the first place.

    They should have tried this…”if you have unlicensed vehicles that ARE roadworthy come forward and pay a min or max of this XXXX” “if you have a derelict vehicle that was either dumped, scrapped or destroyed in a natural disaster you pay the minimum administrative fee to have the vehicle recorded properly in the DVDL system”

    So you’re telling me to just stop licensing my vehicles and go about my business and wait until the next amnesty because we all knw there is bound to be another one?!

    This whole give way everything attitude, slap on the wrist, wipe their slates clean BS for every single thing is why we have such an entitled, lazy, and laid back set of people today with no sense of accountability!

    What I notice is that this Govt (which I voted for- shamefully) are enablers. They will tax the hell out of the vulnerable and poor, let those who rightfully owe free, yet giving away the most to the richest who can afford to do and more just to say they have done.

    I can’t wait for May 2021. I hope we really have woken up this time around Cayman.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What kind of a message does this send out? Sell the debt to a debt collector and let them at it. Job done.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Here’s my two cents, IF the roll out of new licence plates had been done by now the only cars on the road with back tax, insurance and licence owing would be the unlicenced vehicles still being used (vs the ones that have just expired somewhere). They should be pretty obvious for the police to spot and deal with. What I don’t get are the numbers, $6mio/37,000 is about $160 per vehicle owing, as the maximum you are required to pay is $500 per car for back licence, I would have thought the number is nearer $18mio, unless most of the cars are only one year out of date…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Licensing fees are a violation of the basic human rights of expatriates.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I Sent 3 cars to the dump over ten years ago and had no idea I was supposed to be paying licensing on them. Why pay a license fee for cars that are not on the road? The amnesty is the only way for gov to correct it’s books as many of these cars have been scrapped and recycled years ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      And so government should have a record, should they not? The only reason not to would seem to be extreme incompetence.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:18 am, you as a license driver supposed to know the rules, if the vehicle is off theroad/ to the dump, the license plates need to be turned in, maybe your license should be suspended until you learn the rules.

    • anonymous says:

      7:18pm — what are you talking about? There must be a way when a car’s lifespan is over to notify the licensing department so it can be taken off the books.

      • Anonymous says:

        Of course there should be. But you shouldn’t have to pay back license fees when you notify them

    • Anonymous says:

      if you turn in the license plates you dont have to pay

  7. Anonymous says:

    Another example that the CI government is broken. I reviewed the comments and a point that seems to be understated is that this amnesty is directed at deadbeat voters. Perhaps others will benefit but many voters appreciate something for nothing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The licence fee waivers are ridiculous.

    Basically, it’s saying “Oh, no worries. We’ll just pretend this didn’t happen!” to anyone who was negligent in paying their back vehicle licencing fees as any responsible vehicle owner should and would do.

    And what about the people who work hard to pay their fees, do things by-the-book and NOT fall behind? They get to watch the lazy, incompetent or “poor me” types get a free ride.

    How about taking a zero-tolerance approach. If you own a vehicle that has a year or more of back fees owed, your driver’s licence is suspended until you take care of it.

    Enough of this rewarding incompetence B.S.

    • Anonymous says:

      There should two tiers of amnesty:-abandoned cars for a certain period and roadworthy but unlicensed vehicles.

      I don’t agree for whole sale amnesty.

      For the roadworthy, ifn payments not made in a certain period prosecute them.

      I noted the Compass comment that wholesale granting amnesty does not break down law and order. It actually does in a certain sector of society when it rewards them for failing to complying with the law. And sends the message I will eventually be forgiven for the next opportunity to break the law.

    • Anonymous says:

      Finally a sensible Government who is willing to take bold decisions. These fees were bot being paid and may never have been paid so why waste time trying to collect. That would he typical private sector thinking who would simply hire lawyers to take struggling Caymanians to court and expect them to stop feeding their children in order to license their cars.

      This initiative plus the Governments plan to reduce fees for the elderly is exactly the reason I voted PPM and will do so again A government that cares.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are correct about it being typical private sector thinking: you get what you earn and pay what you owe. What novel thinking vs. the CIG govt handouts to voters for nothing and ridiculously high salaries for do nothings and giving away money by pretending to be for home loans that they know won’t ever get paid back. All this magic money the government gives away comes from the hard working private sector thinking and private sector responsibility. Something the public sector in Cayman lacks.

      • L.D. says:

        If you cannot afford a car and kids the choice is? Either don’t drive or don’t………

  9. Caymanite says:

    Ezzie for Premiership 2021 – this politician don’t cut no bones boy! Cayman Islands is headed in the wrong direction and it’ll take somebody like Ezzard Miller to set these islands back on track for the Caymanian people. If you don’t support his independent views on his feelings, findings that now effecting you and your family today, tomorrow and the future, then you better damn start counting down the days to May 2021 –

  10. Anonymous says:

    Folks, these thousands of unlicensed cars aren’t on the road. And are not going on the road. They’re rusting away in peoples yards. We may not like letting scofflaws slide, but its a clean and simple way to ‘0’ everyone’s account. As of X 2019 the only licenced and outstanding plates are those valid as of X 2019. You car shows back up for licencing, no problem, here’s the bill. It never shows up for licencing, no problem. Your car is on the road without a licence? Police problem. (That’s where the enforcement should occur. Or we can even dream of a licencing officer visit to the yard when the licence is 3 months out of date with a wrench to take the plates back and a double-large bill to pay for their time.)

    Alternate approach to the amnesty for the old rust heap in the yard – throw the old plates in the pond by vehicle licencing and tell the judge ‘I turned them in years ago, its not my fault its not in their system’. Anyone think Vehicle Licencing could get a conviction against that defense?

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course they could not get a conviction but that is because their records are crap, untrustworthy, and many in authority seemingly incompetent. The amnesty is the way to cover up those unassailable facts. There is no accountability.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Rick (the p is silent)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Stop giving duty concessions for new building to Dart, watermark and others, this at least helps the people of cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      even C3 (infinity) are getting duty concessions on imports and they are not even building anything.

  13. Anonymous says:

    So, let me get this straight- I have licensed my vehicles every year and paid my fees but those who havent can get an amnesty but I am threatened with a letter from HSA attorneys for an outstanding bill of CI$182.38 that was unpaid. This is total and unequivocal BS. Where is the rationale- give no break to those who are sick however we open the gates of freeness to those who have willfully neglected their duties.

    Too damn bad I have already paid the HSA account or I would take the CIG to task for this complete and unquivocal unfairness.

    THANK YOU Ezzard for being THE only one to stand up for justice and equality.

  14. Concerned says:

    A great incentive for law abiding citizens. Once again no accountability. Print the names in the Compass. Was planning to license my vehicles as usual but don’t think I’ll bother as it’s clearly not important. What have the car insurance people have to say about coverage on a non-licensed vehicle.

    • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

      I would guess that most vehicles on the road with expired licences do not have any insurance. Once such vehicle rear-ended me in November 2018. The case finally got to court last week but I doubt I will ever see any money toward the repairs for my vehicle.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Ezzard on this.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Same 37,000 that still owe millions in garbage and school fees no doubt.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Mt Miller may be royally disliked by any number of people opposed to his views on independence and putting Caymanians first, even where its perceived as being to the detriment of the major GDP earning industries, financial services and tourism. However he appears to be the only politician with the cohones to address politically unpopular or sensitive topics, and the only MLA that holds the government to account on their responsibilities and accountability.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I guess he hates the gun amnesty too.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I wonder, are the names and party affiliations of those recorded as owing money FOI’able. Perhaps we could look forward to to a list published in the press? It is only 37,000 names. That would be transparent and open good governance, and put to bed any suggestion of corruption and incompetence in the handling of the whole issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is strictly to build political favors, nothing more. It certainly sets a real good example, do not pay your legal obligations and then the government will waive them for you. Unity team fiasco!

  20. Anonymous says:

    The RCIPS have grown grotesquely comfortable barely executing their traffic duty remit. They cannot see illegal tint, plate covers, missing lights and bodywork, people driving around without lights on after dark, speeding trucks, or racing tradesmen with 5 humans sitting unbelted in the tailgate. They aren’t handing out tickets for failures to indicate, lane wandering, cell phone and/or impaired driving, and they can’t see the unroadworthy buses spouting thick clouds of black soot. Other road users, like cyclists and joggers don’t seem to count, and are made to take their chances. They can’t hear dump truck jack brakes or obnoxious unmuffled Grand Prix exhausts going for new high speed records. Response time to serious criminal matters is measured in half hour increments, because our 400+ officers are not distributed in the field to respond. If they are not out there challenging offending drivers for a valid license, coupon, and insurance, then fundamentally, what’s the point? Their indifference is what has led to this, escalation of violent opportunistic crime, and warehouses of never-to-be solved or investigated complaints.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget the unlicensed motorcycles racing around in traffic.

      • Anonymous says:

        Police cant stop those bikers because they may beat up the poor policemen. More lazy attitude as enforcing the law is to much to ask for getting a paycheck.

    • Stirling Moss says:

      What a load of rubbish! Traffic ‘offenses’ are minor insignificant matters; those who worry about such things need to get out into the real world. Compared to many other jurisdictions the roads here are very very safe. Despite what the poster may think cyclists are just as much at fault as other road users; riding on the sidewalk or the wrong side of the road, no lights, no bell, carrying unsafe loads, etc.

      I would offer good odds that most of the reputed 37,000 unlicensed vehicels have long since been scrapped but the owner simply didn’t bother to hand in the plates due to the bueaucracy involved in cancelling the registration.

    • Anonymous says:

      @10:06 AM

      The problem I have with your comment is that I was unable to give it 100 thumbs up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Check Little Cayman!

  21. Anonymous says:

    cayman does not do accountability.

    • Anonymous says:

      That seems to be true. Manderson, Roper, why is that? Do you not see the growing perception that we are not governed properly?

  22. Anonymous says:

    I see the decision to offer amnesty as necessary because it is holding up the removal of derelict vehicles from the road. What angers me as a law abiding motorist who diligently pays all licensing fees, is the fact that I may as well not have kept my car licensed and roadworthy.

    Why has DVDL dropped the ball so hard on this one? These cars should have been off the road years ago but people are just not afraid of facing any consequenses. Another terrible job by probably the worst government body on the island. Even worse than immigration…

    • Anonymous says:

      You are being very generous to immigration.

    • Anonymous says:

      9:43 am — so we had to have amnesty to remove derelict vehicles from our roads?

      Every car should be licensed and if so can be tracked to owner, if not have it towed and after a period sold at auction or dumped if no good.

      We don’t need an amnesty to get rid of derelict vehicles.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Agree with Mr. Miller, why everything are for the ones that break the law and nothing for the law abiding citizens. Why not make it that if someone pays all their Vehicles fees on time, after 10 years gets one year free.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Alternate headline – “Ezzard rails against breeze”

  25. Anonymous says:

    Which part of the dump Joey planning to put all those cars? Fix the damn dump Joey, Ezzard and the rest of you frigging clowns!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Ezzard for voicing the concerns of all of the decent and honest persons who live on these beautiful islands!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Get the cars registered for the future or fight about money that you will never see. The right choice was made.

    • Anonymous says:

      So you think those that haven’t previously paid registration fees will now magically transform into law abiding individuals? Versus more people who currently do pay now taking advantage of the amnesty to get a 6 month fee holiday, on the view that if no one else pays and they get away with it why shouldn’t they?

      • Woot Sauce says:

        Do you know that the court system is to teach a lesson and help people? Not to just condemn someone and label them as a criminal their whole life. People make mistakes and bad decisions, im sure Ezzard has fell short somewhere in his life where he was given a break. Just let the lucky enjoy their moment, and lets laugh at those that get caught after the amnesty.

        • Anonymous says:

          Lock them up! Ezzard too!

        • Anonymous says:

          10:19 pm–that is the one thing that the story said — he could “accept the waiving of prosecuted” as part of the amnesty but he did feel those involved should pay the back fees:

          “…he said, he could “accept a waiving of prosecution once outstanding fees are paid up in immediate response to the amnesty….

          But he said an amnesty on all “unpaid licensing fees, is beyond unacceptable; it is unconscionable”.

  28. Gray Matter says:

    100 % in agreement.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard is correct on this ….collect the outstanding fees then offer a break … from going to court …. or issue warrants and put tags in the Immigration system you’d be surprise how many would be caught and collected.

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