The Electoral Reform Effort Group believes that it is possible to have voter Identification Cards before the next general elections.
The group comprising Church, Business, Trade Unions and Civil Society leaders said with about 200 people, a verification exercise and collection of data for Identification Cards for voting could actually work.
They are concerned that if the general election is held with the public perception that its outcome did not reflect the desire of the majority of the eligible voters, civil unrest and disturbances may ensue.
“Thus, our ultimate goal is to attain some reasonable compromise that will facilitate the holding of a general election which will usher in a government in a peaceful environment in which citizens accept the outcome as fair, and will then direct their attention on working to build the country”.
But in order to accomplish this, the group said its primary focus is to sanitize the list of eligible voters and to have each eligible voter identified with a valid ID.
The Electoral Commission had said that it had obtained the required resources for its verification exercise that was supposed to have commenced in July 2018 and only an increase in manpower may be necessary.
And now, member of the Electoral Reform Effort Group, Stewart Paris reading a statement on behalf of the Electoral Reform Group said the group has previously calculated that a 200-person team can conduct the verification exercise and collection of data for ID’s in less than 8 weeks.
According to him the Group has previously recommended that the Electoral Commission can amend legislation by regulations to enable it to issue ID Cards with the bio-metric data it considers necessary.
The Group also called on the Electoral Commission and the Executive Branch of Government led by Attorney General Levi Peter, to draft with much dispatch the necessary legislation.
“Failing urgent action by the Political leaders and Parliament, and even out of an abundance of caution, the Groups recommends that the Electoral Commission immediately proceeds with the required amendment of legislation by regulation,” Paris indicated.
The group also believes that all other efforts should be made to ensure that this coming election is not held without the reform and therefore to do all to prevent “civil disturbances” or unrest.
“Our country cannot afford civil unrest in the wake of general election,” he remarked.
The Group further called on the government to provide all and any additional financial and other resources necessary, in order to enable the Electoral Commission to complete the necessary reform activities before the next general elections.