Ministry of Works and Transports reveals new licence

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Rajie Ramsingh, who was the first person to get the new drivers’ licence on Friday, is flanked by Transport Commissioner Clive Clarke and Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan at the Caroni licensing office during the launch. – AYANNA KINSALE

The Ministry of Works and Transport has introduced a new drivers’ licence. But if you recently renewed your drivers’ permit, don’t be alarmed because it remains valid.

The new licence was launched on Friday at the Caroni licensing office.

Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan explained the change from permit to licence was not just about the name.

“We have been having a lot of complaints over the last couple of years whereas citizens would have travelled abroad and faced a lot of difficulties in actually trying to rent a vehicle, or producing their drivers’ permit to law enforcement as a form of identification. Because, internationally, most countries have moved to drivers’ licence. So this morning we would have actually brought the Licensing Division closer to international standards.”

Sinanan said the new licence has additional security features which will help local police identify fake ones.

Transport Commissioner Clive Clarke explained the licences are printed on a material called Tactile that is unique to the ministry, so that they cannot be replicated unlike the permits. He said the security features mentioned by Sinanan cannot be seen with the naked eye, but will be useful for law enforcement. He said information on the licence holder will be available online once the bar code at the back of it is scanned so it can be validated.

All licensing offices throughout the country are expected to be equipped to provide the licences within ten working days.

Clarke said they will be available at Wrightson Road from Monday.

“We go to San Fernando next, Point Fortin… The intention is that by July 19, 20 all sites, inclusive of Tobago, and the mobile buses, will be fully equipped with this new system.

Clarke said in order to transition fully from permits to licences, amendments need to be made to the law.

Sinanan sought to assure members of the public that the existing permits remain valid.

“What we are doing now are new renewals. You can’t just come in and change your permit. The law is clear…the permit is still valid and the licence is valid.

“Until we reach the point where we’re confident that everyone had the opportunity to get the driver’s licence, only then would we go back to Cabinet to get the permits taken out of the legal system.”

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