Illegal cars tagged

The Cayman Islands government has begun slapping yellow abatement notices on vehicles with for sale signs which are parked along West Bay Rd. across from Treasure Island.

Last year, Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts warned that the days of selling cars on the road side in that location, and along Shamrock Road near King’s Sports Centre, were over. He said last week that efforts to draw up stricter regulations to prevent the practice were moving a bit slower than expected.

But it seems the government has some tools it can use in the meantime to get people to move the vehicles.

A notice left on one car the Caymanian Compass photographed Monday stated; ‘This vehicle is in contravention of the Public Health Law…and the Litter Law…of the Cayman Islands. You are hereby given 7 (seven) days to remove/dispose of the said vehicle…or it will be towed and disposed of at your expense.’

The Public Health Law (2002 revision) allows for the removal of what it terms derelict vehicles, and allows the government to charge $215 for that removal.

The Litter Law (1997) requires certain government officers to give at least a 24 hour notice to people who leave derelict vehicles in public places. After that, the law says the vehicles can be removed and that the Crown ‘may recover summarily as a civil debt from the person in default the expenses incurred…’

Assistant Director of Environmental Health in charge of solid waste Sean McGinn said environmental health officers have been tagging the cars, generally giving those responsible for the vehicles two weeks to move them.

‘If they sit there for two weeks, they send a notice to us (Solid Waste Dept.)….then we move it,’ Mr. McGinn said.

The vehicles are generally taken to the landfill and held for a specified period of time. They can be scrapped if no one comes to claim them, but Mr. McGinn said such action would be extremely rare.

‘It never gets to that. Most people move them before we have to move them anyway.’

He said the government started putting abatement notices on the cars a couple of months ago after warning people for a year and a half, two years about the problem.

It’s not clear exactly what changes the government plans to make to the law to force people to stop selling their vehicles along the roadside. In the past, Mr. Tibbetts has suggested penalties could include paying a fine to get a car back after it’s been towed.

Officials at Mr. Tibbetts’ office said the Planning Department and the National Roads Authority were working together on details of the legal changes, which are likely to be introduced in the next meeting of the Legislative Assembly.