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Passengers enter a St Ann’s PH taxi at the corner of Queen Janelle Commissiong and Frederick Streets, Port-of-Spain, on Tuesday.

sharlene.rampersad

@guardian.co.tt

Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan is vowing to have all ‘PH’ taxis registered with his ministry in under a year.

Speaking on CNC3’s the Morning Brew, Sinanan said his ministry’s technical staff have already started working with the office of the Attorney General to draft a policy to take to the Cabinet.

“We gave ourselves a one year period but I am sure much sooner than that we will have a document because we are going to start consultations again and we are going to have a policy document to present to the Cabinet after consultations with the stakeholders,” Sinanan said.

He said discussions about legalising ‘PH’ drivers have been ongoing since Jack Warner was the Transport Minister.

Sinanan said under Warner’s tenure, a report was completed after consultations with ‘PH’ drivers, showing the reasons they did not want to become legitimate taxi drivers.

“Many of us may think it was simply character certificates or insurance but it is a lot wider than that, some of them did not want to put an ‘H’ on their cars because some of them would want to use their cars to go out and lime in the night and they did not want an ‘H’ on the car,” he said.

He said there were many challenges then but said with the technology available now, his Ministry would be able to implement a system to register, track and identify ‘PH’ taxis and their drivers.

He said ‘PH’ drivers can opt to put a light on the outside of their cars and another identifying marker inside so the public and police will know they are carrying passengers for hire.

Sinanan said in the coming weeks, he will be taking legislation to Parliament for the use of Radio Frequency Identification registration plates to help easier identify ‘PH’ drivers from the rest of the driving population.

“With the technology now we will be able to identify a PH car that is working, you will be able to log on, its simple technology, once you are working, where you are working, things like that and we will be able to put some identification markers on the vehicle because if you want a system to work, we have to have some buy-in from the drivers as well.”

He said he expects there will be drivers who refuse to register with the ministry.

“We will still have PH within the PH- again that comes back to the enforcement matter by the police, the police can now go out and enforce the law as it relates to a vehicle for hire but we do recognize that the PH do play a role in the transportation and maybe the time should have been earlier, but we have to put our heads together to find a system, and I am sure that between the Ministry of Works and the Attorney General, we will have a policy, after consultation with all the stakeholders to go forward.”

In the interim, Sinanan is urging citizens to look out for each other as he said there is a need to be vigilant when using ‘PH’ taxis.