Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan says two buses have been bought to widen the access of the Licensing Office’s services to rural communities across Trinidad and Tobago.

Speaking during the ceremonial opening of the Guaico Licensing Office in Sangre Grande on Friday, Sinanan said, “Two new buses, these buses are not just buses to take around ministry employees on joyrides. These buses are mobile offices.

“And we expect that within the next three months, just like the people in Sangre Grande don’t have to go to Port-of-Spain or Arima or Caroni, these buses will be utilised. They are mobile offices, they will be going up to the coast, they will go into country areas and every month on a specific day they will visit areas. And all your Licensing transactions will be done in these buses with the technology.”

Sinanan said this, coupled with improvement of the Licensing Division’s online portals, will significantly reduce the amount of people who have to physically visit Licensing offices.

One bus, he said, will visit Tobago twice a month to provide rural services there as well.

The buses, along with the Guaico office, were purchased using an estimated $20 million that had been left over from a previous Nipdec loan which was taken to establish the Licensing Authority office in Caroni.

“By the end of 2015, in 2016 when I entered the ministry, what I found was a loan at Nipdec or a bond at Nipdec where $340 million was spent and all we had to show for it was a structure in Caroni. And I saw two cabinet notes for an additional, I think it is $500 million, to complete the project,” he said.

However, he said given the financial constraints facing the country, the ministry instead chose to repurpose lands they already owned.

“I remember as a child growing up here, going to the Guaico Presbyterian school and passing here almost every day, looking at this, a massive expanse of land, almost five acres or five and a half acres of prime land, owned by the Ministry of Works. And to the front where that building now stands was some old shed with derelict vehicles, some of which probably would have been parked there for over 50-60 years and this compound was just wasted. It was not planned, it was not properly utilised and one of the visions we had was to put a licensing office here,” he said.

Sinanan said land had also been repurposed for the Licensing Office in Arima which would allow not only for a new office in the borough but also the construction of the new Arima courtrooms.