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Foulkes Announces Pre-Inspection For Japanese Cars

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Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.

By MORGAN ADDERLEY

Tribune Staff Reporter

madderley@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas is set to become the second country in the region to embrace pre-shipment inspection of used vehicles for road safety, Labour Minister Dion Foulkes announced yesterday.

Yesterday a contract was signed between the government and EAA Company Limited, a Japanese used vehicle inspection specialist company headquartered in Yokohama.

Mr Foulkes called this a “milestone achievement” which will “(establish) the necessary parametres, for roadworthiness of all used vehicles imported from Japan into our country.”

Regarding the value of the contract itself, Mr Foulkes said, “There’s absolutely no charge to the government of the Bahamas.

“This is not an additional tax to the tax payers of the country. The fee is charged in Japan and the exporter in Japan pays the $150. We get $20 back, the Bureau of Standards, gets $20 back out of every inspection for the administration that they might have to do in the Bahamas.

“As a matter of fact, it’s a revenue for us.”

Mr Foulkes cited reports from the Arawak Port Development (APD) which found that in 2016, more than 11,000 vehicle units – both passenger and commercial – were imported. In 2017, there was a major increase to 18,469 units and in 2018 there was a slight decrease to 17,191 units.

Mr Foulkes said the “vast majority” of these imports were from Japan, and it is anticipated that the 2019 import numbers will be similar to those of the last two years.

“From these statistics, the need to ensure these imports are ‘roadworthy’, prior to leaving the countries of origin, is essential to protect The Bahamas from continuing to be a ‘dumping ground’ for unsafe motor vehicles,” Mr Foulkes said.

“Japan as a country, has suffered several nuclear accidents, the latest in 2011 in Fukushima, and it is imperative that potentially radiated used vehicles, are not allowed to enter our country.

“This pre-inspection of verification to conformity (PVoC) programme specifically addresses this risk by including a mandatory requirement for radiation inspection on every inspected vehicle.

“There is evidence that even six years after the last nuclear accident in Japan, highly radiated vehicles are being detected prior to export, where such vehicles are subjected to a pre-shipment inspection.

“While PVoC programmes exist in many parts of the world already, the Caribbean has been somewhat slower to embrace this need for pre-shipment inspection for road safety,” Mr Foulkes continued.

“Jamaica commenced their pre-inspection programme in February 2018, and The Bahamas is second in leading the way in the Caribbean, by also regulating to protect our roads from (not roadworthy), potentially end-of-life vehicles.”

When asked if there has been any indication that the country has imported any irradiated cars, Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) Director Dr Renae Bufford said: “We don’t have the testing facilities in place for that, and we trust and pray that there isn’t.

“But…because we’ve been a dumping ground for so long and we’ve not had standards in place to ensure conformance to such standards, we really cannot answer that question. So we trust that moving forward, in the next three months or so, will begin to ensure that we test for all of these specifications, et cetera, that we will not have cars that are irradiated entering the country moving forward.”

Lionel Frederick Albury, president of the Bahamas Motor Deals Association and president of the Auto Mall Group of Companies, said regarding the importation of used vehicles, there are “certain things that tends to happen”.

He said in “certain cases,” pedometers have been spun back or vehicles have been in an accident — without the consumer’s knowledge.

“This inspection process will help to ensure that the vehicles being imported, that consumers are getting value for money,” Mr Albury said.

Lee Sayer, vice-president and director of EAA, explained the process a bit further, saying the inspection takes place after the vehicle has been purchased from an exporter.

Prior to the vehicle being shipped, it will be brought to one of EAA’s inspection sites.

If the company finds that the purchased vehicle is not suitable, Mr Sayer said it will be rejected. “(The exporter) will either have to bring it to a standard or renegotiate with you, the importer, for a replacement vehicle.

“Every vehicle that passes inspection will receive a certificate of compliance. Each vehicle will have window stickers placed on the vehicle,” he added.

Consumers can also access EEA’s company website to determine the inspection confirmation of the vehicle.

The inspection process generally only takes 20-30 minutes, and thus does not significantly impact the vehicle’s processing time.

Comments

John 10 months ago

In addition to pre inspection, government should also reduce the age limit By two years that the smaller Japanese cars can be imported. Many of the older ones may be running fine when they get here, but once they are involved in an accident or have a mechanical problem, no parts are available for them. So they still end up being parked up somewhere. Parts will still be available for the newer models and the price difference will be less than $1,000.

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John 10 months ago

And some people are actually importing two vehicles of the same model/year and using parts of one to keep the other vehicle running.

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The_Oracle 10 months ago

And the wrecked cars still come in with no problem from the U.S. auctions, to be welded together to make one good car, until it comes apart at speed. Meanwhile, "Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) Director Dr Renae Bufford said: “We don’t have the testing facilities in place for that, and we trust and pray that there isn’t." Hell of a way to run a standards dept. Maybe go buy a geiger counter? Cheap enough. Easy to use. Get one on Amazon!

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bcitizen 10 months ago

THE BBSQ is another government dog and pony show. They cant test anything, enforce anything, or do anything. Just another government agency created to hire people and give the impression that we are a big boy grown up country with these fancy toys.

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birdiestrachan 10 months ago

This new arrangement should make the new car dealers very happy.

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sheeprunner12 10 months ago

Bay Street fights back ............... the small man will be forced back to car loans again!!??

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Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months ago

Yep, Commonwealth Bank's largest shareholders like the Symonette family and Rupert Roberts of Super Value / City Markets are all smiles. LMAO

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birdiestrachan 10 months ago

Foulkes we may be "D:: " but we do know what ever the inspection cost may be including The $20 that will be received will be passed on to the consumer it is a given.

: :

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ThisIsOurs 10 months ago

"this is not an additional tax to the tax payers of the country"

Yes it is. In the same way that a car license is a tax with only the person licensing the car paying it

"The fee is charged in Japan and the exporter in Japan pays the $150. We get $20 back, the Bureau of Standards, gets $20 back out of every inspection for the administration that they might have to do in the Bahamas."

What supplier in the world in the face of increased cost doesn't pass the cost on to the consumer? And then to say its revenue for the govt??? The duty, stamp tax and licensing fees paid on import are already established revenue sources. The 150 is just an added tax on the top.It's not like there was some ingenious plan to create a new revenue source

I also don't understand the point of inspecting after the car is purchased. When you put the money in the man's hand they're not giving it back. All they have to do is give you the run around, the only other options they will "find" will be 1000-2000 dollars more, leaving you with no car and them with your 3000 dollars. If it's an attempt to frustrate buyers away from cheap cars it might work, but it fails when the new car dealers believe people with no money will resort to paying 40,000 for a 10,000 dollar new car. They'll just catch a ride. Maybe with the new ride technology.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months ago

Everything you point out here is true and Foulkes knows it. But Foulkes has always carried water for his paymasters and could not care less about the Bahamian consumer. Foulkes has never ever truly represented his constituents or the people of the Bahamas - and that's a fact!

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ConchFretter 10 months ago

...it is imperative that potentially radiated used vehicles, are not allowed to enter our country.

Have we EVER had an irradiated vehicle imported into the Bahamas?

We don’t have the testing facilities in place for that...

So why we contracting for outside testing when we have NO IDEA if there even is a problem? SMH

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Dawes 10 months ago

Hmm, i would think that people would be happy to make sure the cars that come here are to a certain standard. But apparently, based on the comments above, they are not. guess most people would have been happy with the romaine lettuce being sold here when they were recalled in the States. As long as they were cheap who cares.

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ThisIsOurs 10 months ago

It's not so much that it's not great that there's a n inspection process, it's the rationale they try to sell that's insulting. It is a tax, the process is still open to corruption, I'm not sure how the inspection after purchase protects the consumer.

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joeblow 10 months ago

If only we had rigorous inspection of politicians!

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B_I_D___ 10 months ago

People are foolish to think that whoever is in the market for a $3,000 Cube from Japan is anywhere NEAR to being in the market for a 'NEW' car from a local dealer. That market share does not even enter into the equation of the like of NMC or BB&T or AutoMall partners. It's a minimal $150 to ensure the car is not radiated, has headlights, has wheels, has brakes. People need to seriously rethink what they are going to make noise and cry about. This is a NON-ISSUE. That being said, it should relate to ALL countries of used car import, not just Japan.

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Gotoutintime 10 months ago

How about a horn??--Very necessary right?

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B_I_D___ 10 months ago

Yes that too...I think it was wheels, brakes, lights, indicators, alignment, HORN, radiation check and emissions. One thing to keep in mind, a failed emissions taste MIGHT reveal more sinister engine problems. If a vehicle is out of emissions, it may be burning oil or have other misfire issues. you get your nice pretty new Cube onto the island and a few months later the engine implodes...a small emissions test could potentially pick up on that engine being so out of whack, it was about to fail. People just like to make noise to hear themselves talk.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months ago

The great thing about these low budget Japanese vehicles is that they come with a 40+ year supply of highly radioactive nuclear fuel. There's no need to put any costly Shell gasoline in these vehicles. And if you don't like someone, just park your low budget Japanese vehicle next to their vehicle and share the future painful cancer experience. Minnis and Sands at least now have their explanation for the unprecedented increase in cancer per capita rates in our country in recent years. Our ground water supply is no doubt contaminated by now.

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Socrates 10 months ago

Another example of the 'hope and pray' doctrine.. would seem to me that if you watch Fox or CNN a couple years ago and noticed there was an event at a nuclear plant, and you knew your citizens were buying cars from that place but you have no system to test those cars to ensure no threat from radiation, a logical person who have said 'until such time that we can satisfy ourselves of the safety of these cars from this particular event, NO imports'...

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