Drivers License Upgrade? Thank Taiwan

And the whirlwind of activities between the Belize Government and the visiting high-level delegates from the Taiwanese Government continued this afternoon at the Radisson Hotel. That's where Transport Minister Edmond Castro and representatives of the Taiwanese Ministry of Transport and Communications held a ceremony to outline the major in-roads that the two governments have made to implement a project called Belize Motor Vehicle Registration and License System.

The ambitious project was launched in November of last year, and the intention is the Department of Transport will have a centralized database system with information on all licensed drivers and registered vehicles in the entire country. By sometime next year, no matter what district, town or village you live in, and are where you are registered as a driver, your driver's license, and the license plates on your vehicle will have a standardized look. Your driver's license will have technology which will allow it to be tracked in any part of the world, and your driving history, including any traffic violations you committed, will also be placed on that database that the Department of Transport, law enforcement, and the Courts, and even the municipal traffic authorities will have access to it.

It's a major move toward E-government, and the Taiwanese Government has played a major role in this upgrade. Here's what the Taiwanese Ambassador and the Minister of Transport had to say at today's ceremony:

H.E. Remus Li-Kuo Chen, Taiwanese Ambassador to Belize
"It is my great pleasure to be here today, especially with our delegation from Taiwan to attend this conclusive ceremony for this year of the Belize Motor Vehicle Registration and License project. This project is a four-year joint partnership of Taiwan and Belize, e-governance with a budget of two point eight million U.S. dollars. The goal is to provide a time-saving, efficient and less costly e-government services and transport for Belize citizens. I am honoured to announce that the abovementioned goal has been so successfully achieved. We have established not only the Motor Vehicle Service platform which is a centralized database as the minister explained very well. I cannot do better than what he has just done. And then, with all these transportation data being used, it will be integrated but it will also improve your transport services to all Belizean people. the system and the new developments the department of transport in all municipalities have also successfully issues more, I think he said 12,000 new driver licenses in the form of cards, much sturdy, valid, good."

Hon. Edmond Castro, Minister of Transport
"No longer our people will be embarrassed by traversing in other parts of the world with a driver's license that can be manufactured by a fourth grade student, any fourth grade student nowadays. And if you don't believe 4th grader might be going very high, because the children are born with computer brains, a 3 year old, 5 year old could tell you all about apps and if you don't believe me, leave your phone unlock. Our drivers will be able to tell you that with the old driver's license they would tell you that this is not valid, so bringing us on-stream with the rest of the world that we will now be able to have an identification that yes you are a valid driver in Belize and the rest of the world can respect it is welcoming news for our country. As it related to the registration of motor vehicles, there again our system was very loose, not one of the best but because Taiwan was able to facilitate us and bring us world-class status with technology, we will be able to track motor vehicles entering into the country with proper identification whether they elude authorities or customs and did not pay or whether they pay their fair share at the ports of entry and we now that those vehicles are legally tracked, registered here in this country."

The Department of Transport has already started issuing these new electronically updated driver's licenses. They say that over 11,000 of these licenses have been already been issued. The Statutory Instrument to enforce the standardization of the license plates is still not completed, and when that is done, it will be implemented everywhere you can get these license plates issued. The Municipal Governments still need to be integrated into the system, which will take place at a later time.

Channel 7