Government has targeted November 15 as the date that they expect the backlog of more than 80,000 driver’s licence cards will be cleared.
Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources Ian Gooding-Edghill made the announcement on Saturday as he reported that just over 10,000 cards have already been printed and the distribution process had commenced.
Addressing the media at a briefing at the Barbados Licensing Authority (BLA), The Pine, St. Michael, Gooding-Edghill said that his ministry had introduced a two-shift system dedicated to clearing the massive backlog.
“Teams of seven working in two shifts Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., and one shift on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., have been put in place and have already begun the process of printing, sorting and packaging the cards. If necessary, a third shift will be added,” he explained.
“The BLA has started the process of coordinating the delivery of the licences to the public through the General Post Office courier service. We are using our special printers but because of the special security features, it will still take time for them to be printed. The exercise, to clear the backlog of over 83,000 cards, which consist of 9,646 for customers who renewed their licences online, and 74,227 who would have otherwise collected their licences from the BLA offices. The BLA team anticipates that the project addressing the backlog should be completed no later than November 15, 2021 and thereafter normal distribution at the offices will resume,” Gooding-Edghill said.
According to the minister, since July 2020, the BLA had been faced with the difficulty of maintaining sufficient inventory level of plastic cards used to produce a Barbados driver’s licence. In addition, administrative and supply challenges globally contributed to the delay in the delivery of these cards.
The cards, he noted, are specifically designed and manufactured in the United Sates for Barbados and imbedded with security features to reduce counterfeit and fraud, which could compromise Barbados’ good reputation abroad. He revealed that the order of 100,000 cards and the specially manufactured laminate have been received by the BLA.
All cards will be processed and mailed to each customer through the General Post Office courier service. The new cards must be signed for and the expired licence returned to the courier. It was noted that no new photographs for regular renewals will be necessary.
In the meantime, no licences will be issued face-to-face at any of the BLA offices during the next weeks as the BLA will be focusing on the mass production to clear the backlog and to avoid compromising COVID-19 protocols. However, the delivery of drivers’ licences paid for online through the courier service is expected to resume on November 1, after it had to be suspended due to the absence of plastic cards. In addition, the BLA has also scheduled the resumption of the issuance of driver’s licences from the BLA offices at Oistins and Holetown.
“With effect from November 15, the BLA will go back to the system of taking photographs when learners pass their driving test and for persons transferring from overseas to Barbados driver’s licences. These new cards will be mailed to customers. Effective October 20, the BLA will address the backlog of photographs for the first-time drivers who paid for their licences but were unable to get the plastic driver’s licence card along with those who paid for transfers from their overseas licence to the Barbados licence. I have spared no resource in ensuring the removal of the backlog to assure you of my intention that this must not happen again. The experience I have drawn from the private sector has allowed me to take decisive action to resolve these challenges. This is another challenge that I had to fix,” Gooding-Edghill maintained. (KC)