Computer problems that began last week, coupled with no inspector on Monday, forced the Motor Vehicle Bureau on St. John to close its doors Monday, Motor Vehicle Director Jerris T. Browne said.
The office will be closed for the rest of the week, reopening Dec. 30, Assistant Director Myrna George said.
However, no one at the bureau thought to put a sign up. One St. John resident said he went twice Monday morning to get his vehicle inspected but found the bureau closed, vehicles backed up at the inspection bay, and people milling about.
“It looked like an abandoned building,” the resident said.
He did not want his name used because he said the last time he spoke out about Motor Vehicle issues, the next time he went to the office the person behind the counter was “mean to him.”
“Vindictive,” he said.
He said when he went for the second time Monday, the person who works at the excise tax office, located in the same building adjacent to the public tennis courts, came out to tell people Motor Vehicle was closed.
The director said the lack of a sign was an oversight and he would address it. Browne also said a press release announcing the closure was supposed to go out Friday via Government House but was not received in this reporter’s email.
George later forwarded the press release, which indicates the problem began Dec. 16.
Since the bureau will be open only Dec. 30 and a half day on Dec. 31, it will be a scramble for St. John residents to get their business done if they face Dec. 31 expiration dates.
If they need to get things done this week, Browne suggested they go to St. Thomas.
The St. John resident who did not want to be named put the cost at about $50 for the round trip barge fare, about $20 in gas and a day’s lost wages because a trip to St. Thomas usually consumes most of the day.
If you’re thinking of making the trip to St. Thomas or are waiting till next week to use the St. John Bureau, the local government closes at 1 p.m. Tuesday and will be closed Wednesday for Christmas and Thursday for Christmas Second Day.
Both Bureaus will close again at 1 p.m. Dec. 31 for New Year’s Eve and will be closed Jan. 1.
The St. Thomas and St. John Bureaus will be open Jan. 2 but closed Jan. 3 for Crucian Christmas Carnival. The local government across the territory is also closed Jan. 6 for Three Kings Day.
Browne said the computer problem is either related to server issues or is electrical in nature.
“We’re not sure what it is. We’re still working on the problem,” he said.
He said there are currently no problems at the St. Thomas and St. Croix Motor Vehicle offices.