Members of Parliament approved legislation which ends the exemption for seniors vehicle licensing fees, replacing the exemption with a 50% discount. Seniors who feel they are still unable to make the 50% cost can apply directly to the Minister for a waiver.
The MPs debated the amendment late into the night, with many of the Opposition MPs speaking out against the change.
Some pointed out they felt that former OBA MP Louise Jackson — known as a staunch advocate for seniors — would not approve of the bill, while others said the OBA was turning their back on the campaign promise of maintaining free transportation for seniors.
Opposition Leader Marc Bean said the Government has a lack of ideas to grow revenue, and are now “picking the pockets of Grandma and Grandpa.”
Some of the Government MPs responded to this saying they were referring to free bus and ferry travel, which they have maintained. They also pointed out that the need for increased revenue was due to the $1.4 billion debt.
Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell said the PLP have a short memory, saying they gave free access to Bermuda College, but rescinded it. He also stressed his “door is open” for seniors who are struggling and need a waiver from the 50% licence fee, and noted many seniors said they are “devastated” by the level of debt the former Government put the island in.