Gov’t bans importation of used and reconditioned vehicles

OBSERVER media received a press release from the Environment Division that read: “Cabinet agreed to the following recommendations: – that used and recondition vehicle(s) be no older than five (5) years for importation in Antigua and Barbuda.”

The communique also noted that the Environmental Levy imposed on imported used vehicles would be raised from $4,000 to $6,000. (The Levy on new vehicles is $1,000).

Cabinet made the decision on September 3, and it came into effect from October 15, 2014.

When OBSERVER media contacted Comptroller of Customs, Raju Boddu, to ascertain whether the new levy and ban were already being enforced, he said he had not yet received official word from the central government.

One motorsports and car racing enthusiast said he was “annoyed” to the point of tears, when he heard the news.

“What fuels motor sports are cars from the 1990s,” he told OBSERVER. “The more we have sports-oriented cars in the country, the bigger it is for the car scene. (With this ban) motorsports in Antigua would just be a pipe dream.”

It has also been reported that online Japanese car dealers, through which many residents purchase vehicles, have been notified of the government’s decision. The motorsports enthusiast, who did not want to be named, said some of his counterparts were recently blocked when they tried to import a car from Japan.

“The dealer issued statements that said our government has sent them notification not to sell anything to anybody from Antigua and Barbuda before 2010,” the driver reported.

“There are at least three companies that have sent something in regards to that to people who have expressed an interest in purchasing.”

Meantime, Principal of Antigua Motors, one of the largest car dealers on island, Paul Ryan, described the move by Cabinet as “positive.”

He said the government was bringing its laws in line with most of the other Caribbean islands which have already adopted such a move.



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