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Clive Clarke

Anna-Lisa Paul

Transport Commissioner Clive Clarke is assuring the public that the online system implemented by the Licensing Division for appointments to conduct transactions has been working.

However, he admitted there is a backlog due to the current demand which he said had come about because of the forced closure of the Division’s offices due to the COVID-19 virus.

During an interview with Guardian Media yesterday to address concerns by members of the public as to the length of time persons had to wait before they could secure an appointment, he defended the benefits of the new software as he said, “There are no technical problems with the system. It is working and it user-friendly. Every day we have persons coming in to Licensing for transactions as a result of the system.”

Acknowledging the complaints which continue to arise regarding lengthy delays, Clarke explained how the new system is designed.

Honing in on the areas that require persons to visit the office to complete the transaction such as applications for Learner’s Permits and a Driver’s Permit Renewal – Clarke said, “Those are things you always have a high demand for, but because of the COVID situation we are facing…we have had to exercise a high level of control because if we open that up, we will get hundreds of people coming in daily.”

Claiming they had kept the public abreast of their phased reopening and schedule of services to be offered, Clarke said, “We have limited appointments for some services as we cannot go with hundreds of persons coming to each site daily.”

As part of their control regarding the renewal of permits, he said, “We are not allowing persons to make bookings beyond two months right now.

He said this new electronic system had not escaped the clutches of “touts” who have since found a way to beat the system and make a dollar at the same time

He said, “They would go on and secure ghost appointments using fake names which they can later change after they sell the spot to someone willing to pay whatever they are charging so they can get through faster.”

This, Clarke said had led to them “clogging the system.”

In order to combat this, he said, “After we got information on that, we have since removed that cancel function so if they attempt to do that, and which is why are now seeing appointments opening up also…they will not be able to sell the time slot as when you come to Licensing, staff check your name and details to make sure it is the same person.”