For sometime we have listened to Barbadians as they recounted unbelievable stories when they had to renew their driver license. We all know that the Barbados Licensing Authority has finally put a system in place to convert the old system of the book to one of a credit card type driver license. No doubt the government is taking the opportunity to update its database, all good. So what has gone wrong with the execution of this project? Why is it taking most Barbadians 3-4 hours to renew a driver license. In some cases Barbadian drivers have had to return multiple times to complete the exercise. We have heard stories of Barbadians applying for a vacation day to renew their license because of the length of time it takes to complete the exercise.
It is easy to criticize government employees at the Barbados Licensing Authority, but is it fair to do so? Barbadians can go to the Pine, Oistins, Holetown and old National Insurance Board to renew driver licenses. The Old National Insurance Board location is setup to receive payments only i.e.drivers using this location have to visit the other three to complete the exercise.
From observation it is obvious that the system is inadequately designed and becomes easily overwhelmed by the flood of Barbadians who need to renew licenses on a monthly basis. Yet another government project where tax dollars have been used to install a poorly designed project, remember EDUTEC?
It is unfortunate that despite the many public cries by Barbadians the management at the Barbados Licensing Authority has not seen it necessary to respond. There is the opportunity for the Chief Licensing Officer, Permanent Secretary or Minister John Boyce to issue an official response. Human beings and in this case Barbadians don’t deserve to be treated like cattle.
Why the silence? Why has the ministry not seen it fit to mobilize additional sites to renew licenses given the poor performance of the project to date? Minister John Boyce the engineer must be aware of the importance of evaluating any project to incorporate feedback into improving the original design. Why is it that the design flaws in the current system have not been corrected?
We have touched on design flaws in the project.
How many people are aware that they need to travel with their National Registration Card to successfully complete renewal same day? How many Barbadians who visit the Pine, Oistins and Holetown are not told that because of the frequent crashes to the system a backlog of drivers who have to return to complete the renewal process occurs. In those cases people who return to complete the task are processed ahead of those waiting. Is it too much for the government employees to routinely communicate challenges being experienced to Barbadians waiting in line? It is obvious that Oistins, Pine and Holetown are part of a computer network which continues to experience massive communication challenges accessing the host. In the case of Holetown the problem is acute given the challenge of relying solely on Cable & Wireless in the absence of a back-up communications link, serious thought should be given to closing the Holetown location if there is no plan to make the communications link more robust. Finally, some of the government employees working with the ‘system’ need to be retrained and the back-ups rotated in the jobs to respond to the high level of absenteeism in this department.
Our observation about this matter was motivated by feedback by someone close to the BU household. We invite those in the know to help us to understand if we are fair in our assessment.