Former Works and Transport Minister Guy Joseph said he has engaged a number of truckers on the island, who are already getting ready to deal with the issue of increased license fees.
Joseph said he plans to lead a demonstration with these truckers, who are “feeling the squeeze” based on the government’s decision to increase the license fees.
He said this demonstration will be separate from the usual United Workers Party (UWP) march and will include a majority of the truckers across the island, who are dissatisfied with the government.
“Most of the trucks have not been working and some of them cannot afford to buy the tyres that are required for the vehicles to have them on the road,” the MP explained.
According to Joseph, most truckers are questioning whether it was fair for the government to increase license fees at a time when they have the least number of trucks working on the island.
“It is especially having an impact on the truckers because of the exorbitant increases from 300 to 700 in some instances and 300 to 750 in other instances,” he asserted.
Joseph said truckers are not the only ones who have been negatively impacted by this increase, but small business owners who use large vehicles for work have also been complaining.
Government had introduced a new Vehicle Licenses Fees Structure in St. Lucia from September 1, with goods and heavy equipment vehicles now required to pay the highest fees for their licenses.
Despite criticisms that the new rates are too exorbitant, the government argued that the rates which vehicle owners are required to pay in St. Lucia are the lowest in the OECS region.
The government has also explained that heavy trucks and other large vehicles are required to pay higher fees, because they contribute to most of the damages made to the island’s roads.
This new structure is expected to rake in some $3.6 million in revenue for government.