3-wheeled motorcycles

Dear Editor,
I wish to record that I believe the GRA is doing an exceptional service to the nation in ensuring VAT, income taxes and all taxes are properly remitted. These taxes are imperative for the development of our country and service to our people. I recognize the magnitude and importance of the Guyana Revenue Authority, which is well-administrated by the Commissioner General Mr. Godfrey Statia and the team of Deputy and Assistant Commissioners, officials and staff. It is an immense/ massive institution, and calls for extraordinary administrative and management skills.
I am writing this letter particularly about a small business we manage called RK’s Eco-Star Motos, which we started over a decade ago. To start it, we had the intervention of former President Bharrat Jagdeo, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, and Police Commissioner Fraser. This was a pioneering vehicle and business in the country. The then GRA Commissioner, Mr. Khurshid Sattaur, was guided accordingly, and a system was established for registration, which from then to now was excellently managed.
As far as we know, there has never been any major accident or loss of life by any driver, worker, or the public. It is the most practical vehicle made for harsh economies, poor people, bad roads, good roads, hills, dams etc. These vehicles are very popular in crowded countries like Vietnam, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Central America, Ghana, Nigeria. They are also famous in Holland, Spain and Italy.
These trikes, sir, are made to empower small men and women and allow them to live their lives fruitfully.
According to the laws that we inherited from the British, they are motorcycles, three-wheeled motorcycles. There are three-wheeled motorcycles for cargo, and there are three-wheeled motorcycles for passenger/cargo. These kinds of designations tend at times to confuse the minds of Guyanese who might not have been much experienced.
In Guyana, things have been going very well with registration and processing. When we have three (3) seats, it would be three (3) seats plus the driver (total of four seats), which would be stated on the registration documents.
We have had some cases where, for the passenger trike, we had seven (7) seats. In some cases, we had nine (9) seats according to the seating capacity, which could be constructed at 18 inches per passenger, while some come from the makers with 7 to 12-seat capacity. GRA staffers were doing an exceptional job with inspections and registration according to the seating capacity. They did make mistakes at times, instead, the three (3) wheelers were being documented as two (2) wheeled motorcycles, and we took that as human error.
Suddenly we noticed without advice that they were being registered as one (1) seater. A cargo three-wheeler with built-in capacity for the driver plus three passengers registered as a (1) seater, which was for the driver only.
The three-wheelers come with built-in seats for three persons, while some come with seating for more persons. And additional seats could be installed as per law. Our customers have been affected, we have been affected, and sales have been affected. This has caused tremendous annoyance and frustration, not knowing what to do. My guidance to the GRA and any institution like the Guyana Police Force is that they need to call in the stakeholders.
So, Commissioner General, my suggestion is that when making these decisions, it’s good PR guidance to call us in and ask us our viewpoint, instead of a unilateral decision being made internally.
And in this case, even the police were not informed when the undersigned personally intervened and tried to follow the trail. I was provided with certain information after much fatigue and inconvenience from the Motor Vehicle Department. The staff there were very respectful and supportive. I know it is not they who make these rules.
In approaching the Police Department, they were taken by surprise. They were never officially informed it would appear, except that we suddenly showed up with a letter from GRA for this.
The Traffic Chief, Senior Superintendent Mahendra Singh, met with us, listened very intently with other officers, and dealt with the matter with extreme professionalism and caution.
However, we had to deal with a sergeant at Police Headquarters whose name I will not disclose at this time. He was uncooperative, and was extremely rude and unwilling to listen, according to my Transport Manager. He could not seem to understand the instruction of the GRA, which, as stated above, was clarified by the Traffic Chief. Nevertheless, instructions were passed for the seats to be measured and letters to be prepared, which we were to uplift and take into GRA. Before we could have uplifted the letters, someone in the Traffic Department forwarded them to the Motor Vehicle Department, causing another bugbear.
We have had many cases where documents went missing in the Motor Vehicle Department. We do not know the status, but it is tiring and annoying. Further, I believe it is unnecessary. Your inspecting officers were extremely competent. All that happens here is a bigger part of bureaucracy, a frustration that leads to the inconveniencing of our marketing and sales, and more so to delay our customers.
It came to a point where customers would say, ‘Leave it with the one seat’, but we know what frustration they would go through, as this is like a small lorry. They need workers/staff. If they are grave-diggers, they need two additional staff, if they are vendors, they need at least one staff. This is why the manufacturers understood and put three additional seats for workers along with the driver.
In Guyana, our people seem to have a problem understanding this. When we told our suppliers in China and India what we were going through, they laughed and said we have inexperienced and unexposed people in our country. With this in mind, I am requesting that you, honourable Commissioner General, who means well in all that you do, in future kindly invite all the stakeholders and also revert to the system of having faith in your inspecting officers.
Best wishes.

Dr Roshan Khan
Founder, RK’s Eco-Star Motos