Health Minister Molwyn Joseph has called on the Antigua and Barbuda government to ban the importation of the Toyota Vitz vehicle, but Prime Minister Gaston Browne has declared that the government will not ban the importation of the vehicle
Minister Joseph made the call in parliafment on Tuesday as he linked the vehicle to a number of serious accidents involving young people. He said, “it is a public health problem costing the government a lot of money”.
However, the Prime Minister in a facebook post on Wednesday said he is aware of the negative comments that have been made in opposition to Minister Joseph’s call for the Toyota Vitz to be banned.
Prime Minister Browne stressed that the government will not ban the importation of the vehicle into the country.,
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, the Health Minister linked the vehicle to a number of serious accidents involving young people, adding: “It is a public health problem costing the government a lot of money to respond.
“We cannot when we have these young people with spinal injuries say oh it is their problem, they must drive more carefully.”
Although he provided no definitive figures to back his claim, Joseph told legislators that the vehicle “has an engine that is more powerful than the body of the vehicle. So that what happens is, when these young people drive these vehicles, it’s like they are sliding on air, so they don’t feel the traction of the road for them to feel how fast the vehicle is going.”
He said to underscore the seriousness of the situation, people would have to work more closely with the emergency room personnel at Mount St John’s Medical Centre to understand the urgency needed to deal with the matter.
Joseph said that he had first brought up the issue of banning the importation of the vehicle with Attorney General, Steadroy Benjamin after three consecutive accidents involving the Toyota Vitz.
“I called the AG and said listen, let’s just ban this thing from coming into the country, Just ban it,’ Joseph said, adding that while the government was not against people being in possession of their own vehicles, these cars must however be safe.