Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Licensing reforms far down the road

September 2014 is fast approaching and I await with bated breath the opening of the new licensing authority, as promised by Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz.

I recall this being promised first by Colm Imbert, then Jack Warner, Devant Maharaj, Chandresh Sharma and now Stephen Cadiz. Somehow, though, my crystal ball is telling me this new authority is far from fruition.

I recall some consultations a few months ago about the new legislation to guide the authority. I am also awaiting the publication of the consultation document on the views that were espoused by various stakeholders.

If I were to hazard a guess, though, it is my view there is not going to be any motor vehicle authority. This Government has grown into a habit of making promises it cannot keep. Public-relations stunts and gimmicks seem to be the order of the day.

I wonder what is the current Minister of Transport responsible for. He has about eight or nine State boards under his purview, each of which manages its own affairs. That leaves only “licensing” and maritime matters under the ministry itself. Why can’t the ministry devote itself to bringing the change that is needed in the licensing department? What seems to be the keep-back? Is it going to build new buildings and buy computers and come to the population and say it has fixed “licensing”? The problem is not the buildings, but rather the structure, composition and pro­cesses of the existing system.

Will members of the public continue to be frustrated by the long lines and the “side” fees of the present system? I hope Minister Cadiz can explain his achievements in the ministry when he has to account to the public. I also sincerely hope he does not list his achievements as placing a dome over the licensing office in Port of Spain and removing some boat wreckage from the gulf. If those are his achievements, then this validates Keith Rowley’s statements that all these new ministries are not necessary and only serve to provide jobs for the boys.

Minister Cadiz needs to get serious and take firm decisions. It’s either he is serious about reforming licensing or he is just taking us for a ride. I, along with three-quarters of this population, await quick processing of renewal, transfer and other transactions of out “licensing” come September 2014, as promised.

If you cannot deliver, then come out and say so and inform us as to what are the issues. Don’t wait until August 30, 2014, to make another excuse.

Blaine Derron McKenzie

San Fernando