By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Minnis administration is conducting an "entire review" of what went wrong with the former Christie administration's controversial rollout of the Road Traffic Department's digital automated system, Transport and Local Government Minister Frankie Campbell said yesterday.
Mr Campbell, during his contribution to the budget debate, said he is presently investigating "all that took place" and led to the confusion surrounding the October 2016 rollout, adding that the findings of the review "will be made public" and that "accountability will be first and foremost in my mind".
Mr Campbell said while he is "satisfied" that the system "was and is a good idea," he remains "concerned about the manner in which it was initially executed." Nonetheless, the Southern Shores MP said the system has the potential for "greater operational and revenue collection efficiency for the department".
The former Christie administration officially rolled out its heavily touted, $8m digital automated system in October, hoping that the new electronic system would make it easier for persons to licence their vehicles and put an end to having to register the same vehicle every year.
At the time of the launch, however, scores of disgruntled motorists condemned the registration process, calling it "utter chaos". Motorists interviewed by The Tribune at the time said a major source of contention was the lack of direction displayed at every stage of the registration process.
So bad were the long lines and chaos associated with the registration process, that the Road Traffic Department (RTD) was forced to implement a six-day work week until it could get a handle on the crowds of angry motorists.
"While the automated system may have intended to be customer oriented, it created more stress for the customers that it intended to serve," Mr Campbell said on Monday. "There were long lines for days, there were endless complaints throughout social media and talk show radio. While I'm satisfied that the system itself was and is a good idea, I remain concerned about the manner in which it was initially executed.
"However, in fairness, I must say among the positive features of the system are the capabilities for greater operational and revenue collection efficiency for the department."
Mr Campbell also announced that the following RTD locations have become fully automated: Carmichael Road in New Providence; as well as offices in Freeport, Grand Bahama; Governor's Harbour, Rock Sound, Lower Bogue, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells in Eleuthera; and Marsh Harbour, Cooper's Town and Sandy Point in Abaco.
Mr Campbell also said that each month from July until October this year, the RTD tentatively plans to roll out the automated system in other Family Islands.
The total amount allocated for the digital automated system was $8,371,908, according to Mr Campbell. He said the exact amount spent thus far on the project would have to be provided by the Ministry of Finance, which maintains responsibility for the project.
Estimated costs for the rollout process in the remaining Family Islands are $193,120.52 for "hardware and other equipment," and $93,060 for "travel and accommodations for persons installing the system," the Southern Shores MP said.