PHILIPSBURG–A total of 33,000 motor vehicle stickers enhanced with security features have been ordered for motorists who do not want to drive around with the 2019 number plates, which promote the country’s fiftieth Carnival celebrations.
Authorities are also looking into doing away with the yearly plates and using stickers in the future. Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever said the stickers are expected to be in the country by the end of this week or early next week and the process will start to have them distributed. He said authorities were currently “ensuring that all the dots are put on the ‘Is’ and ‘Ts’ are being crossed to make sure that we do this the right way.”
He urged motorists to “do the right thing” and “be law-abiding citizens” and pay their motor vehicle tax.
Asked during Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing how the stickers will be distributed, the minister said, “These are details that we are working out.” However, he added that persons who do not want the 2019 plates will be given stickers, which contain built-in security measures.
When asked whether authorities plan to continue to use stickers in the future and do away with the yearly number plates, De Weever said: “In general we would like to be more environmentally friendly and have maybe one standard plate and then adapt legislation to use stickers. That discussion has started, but we have to bring in more stakeholders so that we do have their input and I believe once that is done then we will come and make a decision on the way forward.”
Finance Minister Perry Geerlings added, “My department is indeed looking at cost-cutting measures and one of them is to see if we would continue with stickers, because ordering the plates every year is a costly affair and, yes, we are looking at it. … We are in talks with stakeholders on this and as soon as we finalise it, we will inform the public on this.”
By law the deadline for motorists to pay their motor vehicle tax is February 28.
The 2019 number plates, which are yellow in colour, have “50 Years of Carnival 2019” emblazoned at the top and “St. Maarten” at the bottom. Sections of the community are against the plates, particularly persons who, due to their religious and personal convictions, do not promote Carnival.
A total of 33,278 sets of plates for motor vehicles and 1,000 motorbike plates have been ordered.
Businesses that have a fleet of vehicles can submit packages with their documents for their plates to the Receiver’s Office by February 8 for these to be processed.
The plates cost NAf. 12.50 for all types of vehicles and NAf. 7.50 for motorbikes.
Motorists with number plates M, P, SXM, MR (ministers) and PAR (parliament) will be expected to pay NAf. 275 in motor vehicle tax for gasoline-operated vehicles and NAf. 750 for diesel-fuel-operated ones.
Motorists with R plates will pay NAf. 300 for gasoline-operated vehicles and NAf. 750 for diesel-fuel-operated vehicles.
Taxis, BUS, G (group) and T (tour buses with 35 passengers or less) pay NAf. 275 for gasoline-operated vehicles and NAf. 550 for diesel-fuel-operated vehicles.
Vehicles with V and Z plates that weigh more than 3,500kg will pay NAf. 1,250 for gasoline- or diesel-fuel-operated vehicles. Vehicles with V plates that weigh less than 3,500kg will pay NAf. 275 for gasoline-operated vehicles and NAf. 750 for diesel-fuel-operated vehicles.
Persons with MF (motorbike) plates will pay NAf. 200 and those with MF (mopeds) will pay NAf. 50 in motor vehicle tax.
A valid insurance document and inspection card will be needed for payment to be processed.
Motor vehicle tax payment can be made at the Receiver’s Office cashiers at the Government Building and plates can be picked up at the old Receiver’s Office building on Pond Island next to University of St. Martin (USM).