Tardy truck owners blamed for long lines at licensing offices

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

In this file photo, llicensing officers during a roadblock on the Audrey Jeffers Highway, St James. –

Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said the backup in inspections at the licensing offices at Caroni and San Fernando are mainly because of heavy vehicles, which ignored the government’s two-year moratorium on inspections.

He said several measures will be put in place beginning on Monday to reduce the rush.

Sinanan was responding to an urgent question from Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal about the difficulty the public is experiencing to obtain routine services from the licensing division.

He said owing to a recently implemented system, an electronic vehicle inspection system, trucks have to be presented at the licensing office for inspection for the first time. The system allowed for hand-held device to connect remotely to the licensing database to verify the records of the vehicle.

“Unfortunately in the past, almost 70 per cent of these vehicles were inspected but were never presented to the licence offices. Having implemented this new system, these vehicles have to be presented, and this has posed some level of challenge. As of Monday, they will be going back to an appointment system for vehicles over 6,000 kgs. Also they will be commissioning a new inspection station (for trucks) at our Agua Santa stock pile and asphalt plant in Arima. The ministry advises fleet owners to apply for authorisation to use their compounds as inspection stations.

The transaction to transfer ownership of vehicles will now be done at the Larry Gomes stadium in Arima from February 14 and Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, from February 24, without the need of an appointment. Transfers of vehicles will be suspended at the San Fernando and Caroni offices.

Asked whether the ministry would issue a moratorium on fines and penalties for people who have issues with their names and chassis numbers in the licensing office database, Sinanan said there would be challenges as the database was being cleaned up.

“Because of the fact that the office has moved to this new modern system, there will be some challenges when you come in with your records. There are many people that are driving vehicles and they don’t even know the vehicle is not theirs because of the manual system that operated. Whenever you go for an inspection now, if there are any errors they have to be corrected, so the next time you go you will not have this problem.

“What I have been told has been put in place at the licensing office, is that if these problems have been identified at a garage, you no longer have to take the car back to the licensing office, the garage will take pictures of the car, forward it to the licensing office, and you go to the office in a separate line, so these records will be corrected and you don’t have to go through that hassle.”

He said the new system is trying to correct records that have been wrong for the last 60 or 70 years.

“We are trying to clean up the database. There are over 1.2 million vehicles registered at licensing office but I’m certain we don’t have close to that amount on the road, so this is about cleaning up the system that has been plaguing us for years.”

Sinanan said if these measures do not ease the backup of cars at the Caroni office, he would send officers from the traffic management branch to deal with the issue.