A government audit has revealed that certain driver’s licensing fees charged in Cayman Brac were far lower that what was being charged for the same licences in Grand Cayman and Little Cayman.
The situation, according to Internal Audit Unit staff, existed for a number of years, but apparently went unaddressed.
“We found that, for a number of categories, the fees charged for licences in the Brac were less than the fees charged for similar services in Grand Cayman and Little Cayman,” the audit report noted.
Regulations attached to the former Cayman Islands Traffic Law allowed for the Governor in Cabinet – the governing body of the Islands – to waive or reduce any and all fees for licensing in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
“However, [Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing] management was uncertain if a waiver was granted from the governor to support these reductions [in fees],” the audit unit noted.
In fact, in a statement attached to the Internal Audit Unit’s report, the Department of Vehicle Licensing management admitted the problem had been ongoing for nearly a decade: “This has been addressed since 2003 with previous administrations, but to no avail.”
The then-department director sent a memo in 2003 to government officials on the subject. Department managers said they were hopeful the recently-approved revamp of the Cayman Islands Traffic Law and regulations to that law would address the situation.
The Traffic Law regulations have not yet been made public.
“The dissimilarity in fees that are currently being charged in Cayman Brac compared to those charged in Grand Cayman and Little Cayman is a breach of the current 2002 [Traffic Law] regulations,” the audit unit reported.
“It seems as if the reduced fees remained in place even though a waiver from the governor may not have been granted.”
Several attempts to try to contact the Ministry of Works for comment were unsuccessful.
According to details of the charges contained in the audit report, a visitors permit (book) cost $200 in Cayman Brac, but $300 on the other two Islands.
An international group 1A-4 licence cost $5 in the Brac, but $50 on Grand Cayman and Little Cayman.
Taxi permits in Cayman Brac cost $25, while in Grand Cayman and Little Cayman they cost $40, according to the report.
Private and rental registration plates cost $10 in the Brac, $50 in the other two Islands.
Other differences in driver’s licensing charges included, according to the Internal Audit Unit which based its figures on the 2002 Regulations:
Special vehicles and water sports licenses cost $180 in the Brac; $350 on Grand Cayman and Little Cayman;
School bus licences were $62.50 in the Brac and $125 on Grand Cayman and Little Cayman;
Trailers more than two tons cost $200 on the Brac and $400 for licences in Grand Cayman and Little Cayman;
Omnibus carrying more than 40 passengers cost $260 for a licence in the Brac and $750 on Grand Cayman;
Rental motorcycle licences cost $50 in the Brac and $200 on the other two Islands.