Nov. 7, 2005 A bill establishing the Motor Vehicle Bureau as an entity separate from the Police Department passed the Virgin Islands Senate the end of September and was signed into law by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull in mid-October. Now, the department has a leader.
Monday, Turnbull appointed Deputy Police Commissioner Jerris T. Browne as acting director of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles effective Nov. 7. The chief executive has also appointed Lawrence Olive, the director of the bureau since 1999 under the Police Department, as territorial assistant director of the new agency.
Olive had lobbied for the separation. He told senators at a June hearing, "Right now, if I put in any sort of request, it has to go through the Police Department's financial officer and deputy commissioner before anything can get processed. It has really held up things from getting done."
The press release from Government House announcing the appointments said Browne and Olive will hold their positions "during the incumbent governor's administration and until a successor is appointed and qualified unless sooner removed by the Governor."
Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg introduced the bill creating the new department. He argued the bureau was plagued with shortages in resources and staff for at least the past 10 years, and since Olive had limited authority within the bureau's chain of command, there was little hope for change in the situation.
Sens. Celestino A. White Sr. and Shawn-Michael Malone argued also that separating motor vehicle responsibilities from the Police Department would give the department a stronger focus on criminal matters.
Browne is also a member of the Public Services Commission
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