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No Drivers' Licenses Being Issued in the District

Aug. 12, 2004 – Motor Vehicle Bureau personnel on St. Thomas have caught up on the backlog from the aftermath of last November's rains and flooding of the Sub Base facilities, but now the bureau has run out of supplies to issue driver's licenses on both St. Thomas and St. John.
Customers have been commenting recently on the lack of long lines and the efficiency with which their inspections and paper processing has occurred at the Sub Base facility.
St. Thomas resident Linda Charles-Christian said she was impressed with the service she received when she went to register three vehicles in July. It took less than 15 minutes for each one, she said.
"I was really so pleased, because you hear so many horror stories about Inspection Lane," Charles-Christian said.
Lawrence Olive, MVB director, said on Wednesday that the bureau is still facing a staff shortage and is having computer problems, but the employees decided to band together to get the work done.
"We were able to catch up with the backlog from the heavy rains in November," Olive said, noting that the Sub Base facilities were closed for a while after that, then reopened only on a part-time basis. He said his staff worked three Saturdays in a row in May without overtime to get through the work that had accumulated.
"The employees were the key to success," Olive said.
Now, however, those seeking new or renewed drivers' licenses are being put on hold.
A Police Department release sent out Wednesday afternoon stated that the MVB offices on St. Thomas and St. John will be unable to issue regular licenses for the next couple of weeks. The needed materials have been ordered, and "we anticipate receiving the supplies by the close of business Aug. 23," it said.
Drivers whose licenses have expired or are about to expire should go ahead and pay the renewal fee, according to the release. They will be given a receipt which, along with the expired license, will permit them to drive until the new licenses can be issued.
A similar situation occurred at the St. Thomas MVB facility five years ago because of a delay in paying vendors. Olive could not be reached Thursday morning for comment on how the current lack of supplies came about.
Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg introduced legislation earlier this year to make the MVB, which now falls under the Police Department, a separate government agency, saying the move would improve the bureau's efficiency and effectiveness. However, police authorities opposed the bill, which died in the Government Operations Committee in June. (See "Motor Vehicle Department Bill Killed in Committee".)

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