The following was extracted from Facebook and shared on Barbados Underground at the request of Kammie Holder.
THREE HOURS & FIFTEEN MINUTES TO RENEW A DRIVERS LICENSE.- A WARNING. THE SHORT STORY: To the Pine Office, The Oistins Office and back to the Pine. Standing in line, Oistins 2 hrs; Sitting in line, The Pine 35min.; Driving, 40mins.
FOR A ‘SHORT-STORY read on… it’s a bit long but so was our wait.
I WENT WITH MY WIFE TODAY TO RENEW HER DRIVER’S LICENSE. We went to The Pine office as usual but that, we were told, was under renovation so we have to go to Oistins. Not ever having been to Oistins to pay my license I went to the Government compound to the East of Oistins … Law Courts, Police Stn., Library etc. O.K. My Bad/Ignorance. Finally we find the Revenue office around the back of the Massy Mall through a doorway that proudly proclaims it to be the entrance to a Gym. We see a line of over 20 people waiting and we enter and join it. I notice that of the 7 windows only two are manned/womanned. 15 mins later the line has not moved and there are now 8 people behind us. A large man appears and proceeds to divide the line into two and sends the newer half outside to wait. “In here is get too hot and crowded and people does faint so go out and wait and I will call you in.” So said, so done and they line-up outside the glass wall. He sits a while vetting new arrivals and then leaves. Two people leave the room so the others outside feel that two of them should come in. Two of them do and they are followed by all the others because Mr. Man is not at the door.
The room is full again.
We finally begin to inch forward very slowly and Mr. Man returns. Loud shouting, big argument and he finally gets some of them back outside. 45 minutes later and we are now half-way up the line. A third cashier has started to work. I am seriously thinking of going back out to the car to get folding chairs for Hetty and I. A lady with a child in her arms comes in. I not sure what transpired but suddenly she is at the cashier having bypassed the line. Who tell she do that? Big noise… “No. No. It won’t be dat. I was hey all mornin’ an she jus walk in so?” from the man next in line, backed up by all and sundry… Mr Man jumps in “People wid children can move up so you gotta wait.” Fortunately she was not there long. An expat lady in front of us who has been quiet all along says it is not bad today. She was here yesterday and was in the outside line-up which had doubled back on itself and had extended around the corner of the building. She had waited over two hours and then was told she had to bring a photo to get a drivers License and was returning today wondering why there was no ‘reception’ to explain requirements before the line-up. A guy in front of her explained that we Bajans “Like it so. We too polite.” And then started in on the banks and their ‘service’. I am now in a position where I can read the numerous computer ‘print-out’ signs which seem to be contradictory and despite the reassurance of others in the line around us, am now wondering if we are in the right place.
Optimistically, I remember from last year, that there was a sign on the only door at the Pine office, where everyone had to enter, which boldly said ‘No Entry’. One and a half hours after joining the line we got to the cashier. It took her no more than 5 minutes to fix us. I do not know what services the others before us required that could have taken so long. Having paid and now wondering how we were going to get the actual license card I asked her for the next step… “Ask the guard.” She said. I asked the guard and he said “Wait dey. Somebody goin’ come out and take de cards.” “But the sign on the door says to comeback tomorrow.” I replied. “Doan mind dat, Wait dey.” He instructed. All the chairs but one in that section were taken so Hetty took that and I joined the other standing guys behind them. Half an hour later the lady from behind the door had come out once and taken the receipts and expired license cards from about four people. A lady beside me said “I gone. I can’t wait any longer. That lady in de blue dress been waitin’ for uh hour. I live ‘bout hey so I goin’ come back early tomorrow.” I explained that I didn’t live ‘bout hey’ so I’d have to wait. “You got a car? Why you don’t drive down by the Pine and get the card from dem? They still taking the pictures.” Thank You lady! We had to go that way to get home anyway and although there was no guarantee that the line would be any shorter I remembered that they had more chairs so the wait would be more comfortable.
We drive to the Pine. Quite a few people waiting but there are empty chairs and a reception desk. The guy takes our receipt and the expired card and asks if we want to use the old photo. “Sure.” Anything to save time. He takes them inside and we sit. Like at Oistins there is a digital electronic sign that says “Now serving No. ……..” but it’s not. After about 5 mins. A guy comes from behind the wall with a book, rests on a shelf and calls some names. About five people get up and receive their cards. Great, it is working! He then sits in a nearby chair and falls asleep. Seriously. I know because his eyes close, his head slips to a side and his hands that were clasped together in front of his belly fall to his sides. I show Hetty and the guy sitting next to us laughs. After a few minutes he wakes with a start and ambles back behind the wall. He comes back out with a few more cards and repeats. This happens about four more times. It appears that this is all he does all day. No wonder he falls asleep. Finally Hetty’s turn comes. Standing in line Oistins 2 hrs; Sitting in line The Pine 35min.; Driving 40mins. What has Barbados come to? Are we not supposed to be improving productivity? So much for our new and streamlined Revenue Authority and Civil Service.
Do you think that the Minister of Finance or any of the other members of the cabinet go through this to renew their Drivers License?