Finance Minister Ardwell Irion should not spend too many hours looking at alternatives for the 2020 licence plates that never made it here from China after the coronavirus pandemic started (see Thursday paper). They were late to begin with because the original provider pulled out and “quality issues” had been mentioned.
Irion’s predecessor Perry Geerlings was forced to buy stickers in 2019 when persons objected to driving with the plates that said “50 years Carnival”. Otherwise, police would have no practical way to check for compliance with the motor vehicle tax, which recent experience already showed leads to widespread evasion.
Surely information on that purchase is still to be found in the ministry’s administration and if the product and its price were satisfactory, why not do the same or something similar rather than reinvent the wheel? It will cost some money, but with only 9,565 having paid the road tax as of March 3 compared to 17,843 around the same time last year this seems like a no-brainer investment government needs to make, especially as its income is sharply declining due to the COVID-19 crisis.
There is also no need to pity those who did not pay the tax yet and may now have fallen on hard times, because they knew full well it was due by the end of the first quarter. That kind of opportunistic and short-sighted behaviour often gets punished somewhere along the line, so let it be a valuable lesson to them: Meet your responsibilities in a prompt manner and don’t put off until tomorrow what you can accomplish today when in a position to do so.
Moreover, this concerns a statutory obligation and any democratic state can only function optimally if its people respect the laws of the land. Always trying to bend the rules and cut corners is not only wrong but ultimately a dead-end street and downright foolhardy.