Symonette: Extend Road Traffic licenses until end of curfew

Symonette: Extend Road Traffic licenses until end of curfew
St Anne's MP Brent Symonette (FILE PHOTO)

Department has been open since last Wednesday

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — St Anne’s MP Brent Symonette has called on the government to amend the emergency order to provide for the extension of road traffic licenses due to expire this month.

Transport minister Renward Wells advised Parliament the Road Traffic Department will be opened to the public tomorrow with strict social distancing measures.

Wells said officials recognized it would be an “enormous challenge”.

To this, Symonette suggested the licenses of all persons with a valid permit on March 30 are extended until the 24-hour curfew has ended.

“Therefore persons who have a legitimate license…that it is deemed by police out of courtesy to be continued in existence for such period…which will cut down on people out there in the public.”

Wells said the department has been open since last week Wednesday, adding insurance companies will also be open tomorrow.

While focus is typically on companies during this month, he said officials have processed 200 vehicles each day.
Wells said: “We’re going to make sure we try to manage process as much as possible. We know it’s going to be an enormous challenge.”

Englerston MP and former Transport minister Glenys Hanna-Martin also called attention to the Road Traffic challenge during her contribution to debate on the extension of the COVID19 state of emergency and emergency orders until April 8.

However, her contribution ran overtime.

Adding to Symonette’s point, she said it was unfortunate the issue hadn’t been raised earlier as the department sees its peak traffic at the end of the month.

“At the end of the month you have a rush normally,” Hanna-Martin said.

“At a time people haven’t been able to move around. Based on my experience, you will have chaos out there tomorrow and then insurance is a problem.

Hanna-Martin also highlighted the need for further exemptions to the emergency powers orders to allow for maintenance of commercial vessels.

“People who own vessels, mailboats, charters, they need provisions to go to check on vessels otherwise vessels will sink.”

“Commercial vessels…they need to pump out water or will sink and they are not covered.”

In response, Wells said matter was actively being considered as there was an existing problem in Nassau Harbour.