The Public Works Department (PWD) Road-worthiness Supervisor, Jean Juliano, has apologized to vehicle owners in the country, particularly those in the capital, Port Vila for the lack of awareness on the changes in some aspects of the roadworthiness inspection process.
He said he was apologizing to the public that people were not aware that owners now must book beforehand to have their vehicles taken in for inspection by his PWD engineers for roadworthiness.
He however believed the need for booking was good to help reduce long queues and allow a free flow of traffic on the main road outside and into the PWD yard at Nambatu for vehicles going for checks.
“It is like in any business where we must first book to get served and booking vehicles is one system we have decided to use this year but may be a new and better system can be found in the near future,” Jean Juliano added.
He encouraged owners to go and make bookings and have their vehicles inspected for roadworthiness.
When you go to book at the PWD office at Nambatu, the clerk will give you a list of documents that are needed for your vehicle to be accepted for inspection – 1. A valid Insurance; 2. A valid driver’s license; 3. A valid vehicle registration book; 4. A valid receipt from the Department of Finance showing that you have paid the fee for inspection. Public transport vehicles will also need fire extinguishers. Once your vehicle has gone through the check, you will need to produce all the above including the vehicle roadworthiness Pass documents by the PWD inspection team to the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue where you pay the Road Tax and receive your vehicle sticker for 2017.
Juliano has rejected renewed complaints that there are huge discrepancies in the way the “rules” are being enforced by the PWD inspection team repeating that the set of rules they conform to is the Road Traffic Regulation that required them to check vehicles for a total of 77 items.
He dismissed claims that he personally went and inspected and passed the heavy duty trucks belonging to local businessman Din Van Thu, some of which were said to be clearly not worthy of passing the roadworthiness checks, but that they all have the 2017 road tax stickers on them, saying it was not true.
And he said his boys went and carried out the onsite checks and failed all six to seven heavy duty vehicles.
The PWD Roadworthiness inspection supervisor however said he did one onsite inspection for one company and failed the one heavy duty vehicle they had.
“When clients especially those that have many vehicles ask us for onsite inspections we tell them we will do onsite inspection for big trucks, but smaller vehicles must be taken in for inspection at our Nambatu Public Works depot.”
Juliano admitted he faced occasions of attempted by some people to bribe him to give them favors for their vehicles. He added: “Some of them were even Members of Parliament, but I always stand firm to provide a transparent service to all vehicle owners with the same treatment across the board.”
He denied strict inspection code was being enforced this year by his team saying: “it was not really strict because we’re using human skills to performance the task, but in the near future it will be stricter when the job is done by machine.”
“What we’re doing now is preparing the people for that time, when it comes,” he added.
When asked about the 400 odd government vehicles in Port Vila that members of the public complained must also be checked for roadworthiness, Jean Juliano said there is a Committee for Government vehicles that can answer such questions.
But he personally thought it was important for safety on the roads to have all government vehicles also undergo roadworthiness inspections.
“When I arrived in Port Vila in 2009 we conducted checks on government vehicles and only some ministries participated.”
The PWD Roadworthiness inspection supervisor revealed that the Attorney General wrote to them on February 14, this year and advised them that PWD is not to consider vehicle insurance as a requirement for vehicle checks as checks for insurance will be under another authority – the Police.