We met the Financial Secretary at an event today where he was representing the Prime Minister. It's the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the Belize Motor Vehicle Registration and License System - a project funded by Taiwanese, which could significantly change how your driver's license looks. We found out about the plan to standardize licenses and vehicle registration:

Mike Singh - Chief Technology Officer
"We have small municipalities that are running with the complete license system that include, drivers licenses, vehicle licenses, and there is no central connection between all of them and then you have some municipalities that might have more resources than others. So, Belize City might be able to have a system that works better than say Benque Viejo or Independence. So, the idea is that government is going to create a system that all these municipalities subscribe to or else integrate their systems in so that there's one national database where you can exchange information among each other, we could have one standard license format. There is still some municipalities that have the little laminated card for instance that you really can't rely on that. You could make that in your spare bedroom. The printing of cards for instance being done by suppliers all over the country. So, there is so many holes as to how a license could be given that may not even be in the system."

Joe Waight - Financial Secretary
"This project will move, as we heard from the ambassador, as we heard from Mr. Gonzales, will move us literary from the paper age or the stone age, we want to call it that into the electronic age. It will be a great benefit to centralizing, to uniforming, to real time, security, the benefits and more revenue for the system. I want to take time out to make one point that this will not be a pullback of revenue from the various municipal governments. We will ensure that in our financing arrangements that they are at least neutral, if not a little better positive position."

Francisco Gonzalez, AG - Director - CITO
"One of the examples we like to use is that of the driver with multiple driver's licenses. A driver gets his license suspended in Corozal, he then goes to Orange Walk and applies for a driver's license and gets through and he has cheated the system and the municipality of Corozal has lost revenue and also our drivers licenses themselves have lost value. Now this system will immediately flag the user at Orange Walk and will let the clerk know that the individual applying for the license has outstanding tickets or has outstanding violations in Corozal and would redirect the person back there."

Hon. Edmond Castro - Minister of Transport
"This system, when you swipe your driver's license, we should be able to tell you exactly who you are, where your driver's license was first issued. You can't say it's your first driver's license, all you do is change from your father's name to your mother's name, so if my mom is Tablada, I could get one named in Tablada, I could get one in Castro, I could get one in my cousin Smith - no more of those foolishness."

Charles Keh-yue Liu - Taiwan Ambassador to Belize
"This project will cost 2.8 million US dollars and in 4 years and after this project is through every Belizean will see efficient and will cost less to obtain the licenses in Belize."

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"How much of this arises out of the fact that drivers licenses aren't accepted anywhere in Belize really as a legitimate form of identification because..."

Mike Singh - Chief Technology Officer
"Nobody trusts it."

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"No one trusts it. The databases are porous, the systems are vulnerable."

Mike Singh - Chief Technology Officer
"Right, exactly and by putting things like biometrics into it will prevent that lack of trust. Eventually as we build our more interoperable system throughout government it will mean that we will then be able to verify identities for drivers licenses with identities say with social security or maybe with the vital statistics or maybe with immigration. So, it means that that person could be identified throughout the system because you are verifying different stores of data that he has interacted with along with biometric data to make sure that that is the same person."

The mayor of Belize City is one of the early adopters. And though he has a large traffic department, he says this system is better:..

The timeline for implementation is 18 to 24 months.

Channel 7