The Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) is taking on a new challenge in its unrelenting drive for a more comfortable travelling environment.
However, far from its battles against drink driving, poorly lit roadways and potholes, the BRSA is now battling what it sees as inefficiencies at the Barbados Licensing Authority, which lead to inordinately lengthy delays and angry customers.
BRSA President Sharmane Roland-Bowen and a handful of supporters Thursday braved early morning showers to picket the Pine headquarters of the Government agency, which has had to cope with long queues, a limited number of testers and inadequate equipment, such as the cards used to process drivers’ licences.
“[The problems exist] not only at this particular [location]. This is the worse part, but it is something that is contagious because you find it at other locations,” Roland-Bowen told Barbados TODAY.
“This callous treatment, this insensitivity, this don’t know how to work with customers, paying customers . . . all of them really need an attitude adjustment and in order for them to achieve that, they need proper training, especially in the area of customer service.
“I am told that there are currently three, sometimes four, testing officers. Persons are here from five, five-thirty on mornings standing here in the elements without any type of shelter . . . .The rain is drizzling and persons were out here subjected to the rain, the elements, and these things are not right because it looks as if the authorities only care about money and not about the conditions that they are placing road users and persons going for their licences under and it should not be so,” she added.
Roland-Bowen was concerned that the public had come to accept that nothing could be done about the behaviour of the agency’s staff, arguing that although the poor service had been ongoing for “years”, it was still possible to cure the malady.
“We have been told that, yes, they are aware of it and they are getting additional testers [but] even though it would be a part of the solution it can worsen the situation by having more person with this same attitude, this same above the law type of behaviour, you know they cannot be reprimanded, they have all the rights.
“Unless proper standards and proper training are put in place we are not going to get anywhere and we are going to remain where we’re at and it is going to be frustrating,” the road safety advocate said.
Still, she said, it was not all about criticizing, as she pledged that her organization was willing to work with the authorities in search of solutions.
“Whoever, whatever administration is willing to work with us for the improvement and road safety of all road users . . . we are willing to work with them.
“Sit down, let us put our heads together and bring a closure to this. Whereas we are moving forward, we want to move forward positively. We want fairness and integrity and dignity. We would like to sit with them and offer solutions. We would like persons to listen. No one knows everything. We can make a contribution, we can advise on a way forward and we don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” she said. firstname.lastname@example.org