The renovated St. Ann’s Bay Examination Depot of the Island Traffic Authority was opened officially opened on Thursday, February 13, 2014.
The facility which was renovated at a cost of $12.5M is part of the overall plan to lift the look and effectiveness of the depots islandwide. The new structure will replace the dilapidated one which has housed the facility for many years. Other depots that have benefitted from repairs and improvements include, Spanish Town, Swallowfield, Spanish Town Road and Montego Bay. Total cost for these repairs amounted to $38M.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister without portfolio (Housing), Hon. Dr. Morais Guy said that he was very pleased at the work that was carried out at the depot, noting that there were a number of challenges in pursuit of its completion but through the diligence of various stakeholders, the job was done.
Continuing, the Minister said that other improvements will be pursued with a view to lifting the overall performance of not only the Island Traffic Authority, but the entire brand of the Ministry of Transport, Works & Housing.
To this end, he said, “…But the rebirth of the Island Traffic Authority does not stop at the erection of new buildings or the installation of proper perimeter fencing…it will span all facets of the ITA’s operations - customer service, operating procedures, the use of technology and a strident effort at tackling the perception of corruption.”
Continuing, he said, “Already we have taken on board a new Audit and Compliance Manager , Mr. Raynard Grindley, who has been tasked with ensuring that the operating standards and financial operations at all 14 depots are above board.” The Minister also noted that the Information Management Department of the MTWH is working on the ITA Vehicle Management System which when fully operational, will allow the ITA to electronically transmit and receive data from Tax Administration Jamaica. The system is expected to be tested at depots within the next two months.
As far as security is concerned, the Minister explained that all depots will see the roll-out of Closed Circuit TV over the short term. Training also came in for attention as he said that the Authority will be re-training all certifying officers and new recruits in a Standard Training Programme that is currently being developed in collaboration with the HEART TRUST/NTA. This partnership will complement a similar undertaking with the Advanced Training Centre and is meant to resolve any discrepancies with regard to formal training in relation to newly recruited officers.
Staff morale at the ITA is to also come in for significant attention. The ITA leadership has been promoting improved family welfare by allowing the transfer of officers to depots closer to their homes. An annual staff and family fun day will also be a recurring feature on the Authority’s calendar.
Also speaking at the ceremony, were, Permanent Secretary Mrs. Audrey Sewell; Director of the ITA, Mr. Ludlow Powell; Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, Councillor Desmond Gilmore; MP for the area, Mrs. Shahine Robinson; Senior Inspector for the St. Ann’s Bay Depot, Mr. Osmond Campbell and Pastor Alanzo White who offered prayers. St. Ann’s Bay Primary School provided cultural items.