The new license plate system, which would include radio frequency identification markers should be available from early next year, Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan has said.
The Minister, who was a guest speaker at the Annual General Meeting of the Consular Corps at the Raddison yesterday, said the system which would allow for customised individual identification plates could be in place by as early as January.
The Consular Corps is the representative body of this country’s diplomatic representatives to various countries across the world.
“We are coming with the ID plates which will benefit most of you in this room, where you could go and pay for your customised number plate,” said Sinanan.
Sinanan said the implementation of the plates would aid in the crime fight and would also aid in clamping down on one of many “unethical practices” which had developed in the licensing division where specific license plate numbers were sold to persons for an additional fee.
Sinanan also explained that it would also aid the police in the identification of fake license plates on stolen vehicles, as they would no longer be able to have plates created at various car shops and other locations across the country.
“We are going to create a plate especially for you, so that way you can identify yourself. That technology gives us the ability to do that,” said the Minister, who also said it was no surprise that since there were attempts to computerise the licensing division, that persons have been charged for fraud, as he estimated millions of dollars had been obtained fraudulently throughout the division over the years.
He also revealed plans to allow for online application for certified copies and delivery via TTPost, which he estimated would reduce the number of people heading into licensing offices by 30 per cent.
The Minister said his ministry was also focusing on revamping the port in this country, which he believed was an industry which could act as a buffer for dips in financial revenue from the energy sector.
“We have a situation here where our port could help us significantly when there is a decline in the oil price and the decline in the production and we have never taken advantage of that,” said the Minister, “The maritime sector, that is a sector that the Ministry of Works is really focusing on and trying to develop that sector so that we could move away from oil and gas.”
The Minister said the Port, like the Licensing office before it, had been left in a specific state to benefit specific group who flourished under the current structure. He said while these issues can be easily ignored when the country’s cash flow is healthy, given the economic challenges recently, these structures needed change.
In particular, he lamented the lack of marina in Tobago, given the significant amount of yachties in Trinidad.
- by Peter Christopher