Learner’s Submission: E-Services in Bahamas

“In 2011, we launched a government portal with over three hundred (300) government forms, procedures for over three hundred (300) services, and five transactional services online. Those e-services were Real Property Tax, Renewal of Driver’s License, Traffic Fines, Vendor Inquiry, and Online Customer Service. My first attempt at using an e-service was in 2013, and I used two of the transactional e-services.

The first on-line e-service I used was the application for a Passport Renewal.  For this e-service I did not have to be a registered portal user. I chose the passport e-service and then completed the on-line passport application within forty-five minutes. I was disappointed that it took so long, but I found the questions to be ambiguous and not easily understood. I submitted the application and got a message that the transaction was successful and I would receive a confirmation email within forty-eight (48) hours. The confirmation email would include my appointment date to do the interview. Upon receiving the appointment date, I would have to go to the main office and do the following:

  1. Submit supporting document (e.g. my expired passport).
  2. Pay the renewal passport fee.
  3. Complete the interview and get a receipt with a return date to collect my new passport.
  4. Return to the main office with the receipt and proof of identification to collect passport.

I am disappointed to say that this first on-line e-service experience was unsuccessful. After waiting two weeks for the confirmation email, I decided to visit the main office to enquire about the status of my application. I discovered that the back-end system was not working and they were unaware of my submission. I proceeded to reapply for the renewal of my passport by filling out the application all over again. I completed the steps one to three above, and then I returned four weeks later to collect my new passport.

The second on-line e-service I used was the Renewal of Driver’s License. The on-line process was easy and flawless. However, again the back-end process presented challenges that made this experience a frustrating one for me.  This on-line e-service requires all users to be a registered portal user. I selected the e-service and it prompted me to login to the portal.  After logging in, immediately my registration and driver’s license information appeared in the required fields. I selected my renewal period, and the payment amount appeared for the renewal.  I then proceeded to make payment by using my credit card. I submitted the payment information, and immediately received an acknowledgement that my transaction was successful. I printed my receipt to take to the main office, and logout.

The challenge came when I went to do the pickup three days later. I discovered that the printing of my new driver’s license had been delayed because the back-end system was mal-functioning. I was able to obtain my new license two weeks later rather than the normal two days when done manually.

Both experiences were frustrating for me, and in each instance the problem was the back-end system because the e-service notified me that both transactions had been successful. Since these on-line services are fairly new (less than five years old) I am hoping that by the next five and ten years when I renew my driver’s license and passport respectively, the experience will be different.” – Lynn Williams – Nassau, Bahamas

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