The hard way

The hard way

Tuesday’s frontpage photo of the 2020 number plates led to the usual comments about this annual waste of resources and its negative impact on the environment. However, the latter is limited, according to some, because many old plates are sold to tourists as souvenirs and the proceeds often go to a good cause.

The fact is that government didn’t have much choice this time, because the current ones not only mention 2019 but also “50 years of Carnival.” It was suggested in this column earlier not to put any year on the next set to be ordered and that’s exactly what happened.

This now at least creates the opportunity to continue using the same plates for a longer period and find a different option to indicate the payment of road tax that is less wasteful and damaging to nature. This could be done, for example, with biodegradable stickers inside the windshield, like the ones given out to people who did not want to promote Carnival last year.

Other alternatives going forward include smaller so-called control plates that go over part of the regular licence plates. Important is that the police can easily see whatever is used.

After all, experience shows that when there is no such visible proof of compliance with the road tax a considerable number of motorists will simply take the risk and not pay it. Former Finance Minister Roland Tuitt found this out the hard way in 2013, when the country’s national treasury missed out on at least 1.3 million Netherlands Antillean guilders during his tenure, because he believed citizens were law-abiding enough to do the right thing regardless.