Astaphan questions issuing of national ID cards by Electoral Commission (with poll)

Michael Astaphan
Michael Astaphan

Political leader of the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP), Michael Astaphan, is demanding answers from the Electoral Commission regarding its authority to print national multi purpose ID cards to be distributed on the island.

This, after a meeting was called by the Commission on Monday (today), which according to Astaphan, was to discuss the printing and issuing national multi purpose ID cards.

The meeting was postponed to next week but Astaphan said the DFP’s main concern remains and he intends to quiz the commission on the matter when the meeting is held.

Astaphan pointed out that the Election Act gives the Electoral Commission the sole responsibility of printing and issuing voter’s ID cards and not national multi purpose ID cards.

“our concern is what Act give the commission the authority to print a multi purpose ID card,” he told DNO on Monday.

He noted that the government has the authority to print whatever cards it wants but it must follow the rule of law. “I have asked some lawyers and none of them are aware that the Electoral Commission has the responsibility for the administration of the multi purpose identification system or (that) the law allows them to take a contract to do that,” he said.

DNO attemped to contact the Electoral Commissioner on Monday but we were told that he is not feeling well.

The issue of voter ID cards versus national ID cards has been a long running contention between the government and opposition parties in Dominica.

The United Workers Party is adamant that voter ID cards are necessary since it was recommended both by the Chief Elections Officer in a report in 2009 and an OAS observer mission to Dominica. Furthermore, according to the the party, voter ID cards will help “clean up the voter’s list” and make “voters of this country independent.”

On the other hand, the government has held its ground that a national ID card is the way to go, arguing that voter ID cards will be too expensive for the country.

Speaking on the radio talk show ‘The Heng’, in 2011, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said he believes that the initial cost of issuing voter ID cards would be US$2.089-million, not accounting for the management and implementation of the system.

Thus he argued that it would be better to issue national ID cards instead of the voter ID cards, which would only serve a single purpose.

He further argued that at “the OECS level, there is talk of the introduction of an OECS wide-card and one would be able to use one’s National ID card [to travel between OECS countries].”

At a Labour Party rally on March 12, Health Minister,Julius Timothy, revealed that 100,000 national ID cards could be made available to Dominicans by the end of 2013.

He said Cabinet had given the commitment to provide US$96,000 for the issuance of the first 100,000 cards.

This was in addition to a US$3.14 million contract awarded to 3M Innovative Properties to provide multipurpose ID cards to Dominicans.

“Based on the project plan, the electoral commission will begin to issue identification cards before the end of this year. So our national ID cards will be ready and issued,” he said.

Astaphan said that all he wants is to make sure the laws of Dominica are followed concerning the issuing of the cards by the Electoral Commission. “The position of the Freedom Party is that at all times the government must function under the rule of law,” he said.

Dominica News Online is seeking the views of readers on the matter, in a new poll.

Should Dominica introduce voter ID cards or national ID cards?

  • National ID cards (46%, 476 Votes)
  • Voter ID cards (42%, 433 Votes)
  • It really doesn't matter (11%, 116 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,025

Loading ... Loading ...

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117 Comments

  1. watcha
    May 16, 2013

    If the commission ask for funds to clean up the voters list as you say,why can they go on and clean the list what’s so hard in doing this,isn’t that their job what is all this about a Voters ID card. Your rhetoric sounds straight out of the mouth of UWP why are you blowing some else horn without question their motive..,… seriously???????

  2. TED Lewis
    May 15, 2013

    NATIONAL ID ONLY IF IT SOLVE THE INEFFICIENCIES IN OUR ELECTORAL PROCESS!

    All i saying is that my father Mr. Leon Lewis voted in the cottage constituency and never resides there.

    Yes even my good friends Shaboo and Benjie carry him to vote last election AND THEY KNOW THAT.

    i am 35 years old and never knew my father resides in that constituency. how many more from posse went over to the cottage constituency( maybe that’s why Reggie defeated the late Mr.carbon in the PSS polling station to claim victory).

    Question – will national ID solve this problem.

    will national id ensure that one register in their rightful constituency. Will my father vote next election for IAN Douglas and not Reggie. Are there going to be a re-registration before these national id are given out.

    Also in Antigua we travel with voters ID / social security / drivers licensed plus passport. we also conduct financial transaction with these cards. so someone please tell me the real benefit that makes this national id card a PRIORITY at this time.

    Are we going into a next election without the necessary reform.

    how many passport were sold under the Citizen by investment program. are these people eligible for national id and be able to vote.

    what laws do we have to prevent these aliens from registering to vote.since they never lay foot on the nature island. how many are out there .can they ever influence the result of an election.

    The Pm mention its an OCES thing. Well Mr. PM you and I both know that a lot of the initiative by the secretariat is to give someone a job .

    Mr. Prime Minister you sign on to a economic union within the OECS yet still we Dominicans are not getting our six month when we enter Antigua.

    Dominicans leaving in Antigua cannot license
    a fishing vessel on their name.

    what happen to our rights of establishment.

    what happen to free circulation of goods within the economic union.( why if i decide to move back home to Dominica i must pay duty , vat and sales tax, environment levy on my vehicle of the same amount and more that i paid when i import it in Antigua.)

    why are we to pay alien land holding license under an economic union.
    these should be priority for the oecs secretariat and not about national ID .

    Finally Mr. PM why are you a afraid of electoral reformed. I am sure we could have source funding for that. Currently Antigua is going to issue new voters ids and new registration. they find the funds though things a better in Dominica than Antigua ( your words not mines).

  3. May 14, 2013

    voters id card clean up all the dead people that voting.

  4. Vincy Wine
    May 14, 2013

    Mr. Michael Astaphan was the main architect of the current regime’s incumbency. He was the one who lobbied with the NGO’s to support the present system. So it’s just hypocrisy on his part, to come and pretend like he really wants to see their back.

    next time he will learn that; you don’t remove a working government out of spite to be replaced by a bunch of ill-prepared opportunists

    • ?
      May 14, 2013

      At least he has learnt from this terrible mistake. I concur with you that this bunch of lazy, clueless and greedy leaders, have taken Dominica to its lowest level in terms of poverty, unemployment hopelessness, etc. They are brazen enough to refer to this state of affairs to the poor people as ‘NEXT LEVEL’.

  5. way papa
    May 14, 2013

    Most places use their national I.D card as the voter card as well. Is that such a big issue? My goodness, we love to major in minors in this place. WEH!!!

    • Copeh Sarvar
      May 14, 2013

      We already have Social Security cards and Passports, so why another general ID?

      Then with it being a general National ID it will mean that any other government institution will be able to issue it and hence greater confusion when it comes to voting since the Electorial Commmision would definiely have limited control.

      People below the voting age or those who do not meet the criteria for voting can slip through the cracks since the are legal holders of the cards though not legal voters.

      Will these cards bear a Photo?

      Now if it will cost too much to issue Voter ID cards, how then can it be any less expensive issuing National ID cards for ALL Dominicans whaterver age?

    • Papa Way
      May 15, 2013

      In most places it doesn’t cost US40.00 per head to implement something that is a waste of time and not entirely beneficial to country so heavily in debt as it is!

  6. Roseau
    May 14, 2013

    Once again we are seeing that the Dominican Freedom Party is the only true people’s party in Da.
    They have always been looking for whats best for Dominicans both at home a abroad. Under Freedom Justice will prevail again Dominica will be back on the international scene.
    Let us all give DFP a chance this time . Vision, Wisdom, and Openness!

    • JoJo
      May 14, 2013

      Youv’e ever heard the expression “flogging a dead horse”?

  7. i'm just saying
    May 14, 2013

    A multipurpose ID card that also acts as a voter id card is DEFINITELY the way to go for such a small island with a few people and limited resources. I guess the argument of wasting money on a single purpose card can be used here.

    I just think that these groups need to work with each other instead of against each other. what is the purpose of a voters id card that outweighs that of a national id card?

    Honestly – in Canada, you can use your driver’s license and a recent bill to prove your identity for voting. You know why it works becuase to be on the voters list – you have to be a citizen…. and you have been registered to vote, and the list is maintained.

    Things that can be so simple are made so difficult.Get a mulitpurpose card which can be digitally enhanced with all the features that can be used for voter identification.

    there can be differently coded cards based on people’s status – resident citizen, foreign citizen, resident citizen that can vote…

    Comeon man- this issue sees pointless to be argued over when there are so many ways to kill a bird with a stone.

    have different levels to the national id card – under 18 nationals… use letters at the end of the id codes…do something which makes sense based on the # of ppl there are and the budget. Afterall…Dominica does not have 1 million people to worry about

    Having said that – the people responsible for cleaning up the elections list MUST DO SO and start over fresh.

    if any out of Dominica Dominician needs to come and vote – he can prove the basic retirement, pay a fee, and get the card. Further, there should be a mandatory rule concerning overseas Dominicans who want to vote…and how to maintain their voting status.

    • Anonymous
      May 15, 2013

      Well put…

  8. 1979
    May 14, 2013

    well in my opinion, the right to vote in FREE AND FAIR elections is worth the cost…. Our power to vote is the most FUNDAMENTAL AND POWERFUL right that we as citizens of a nation have…

    so with that said……

    VOTER ID CARDZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

  9. 767
    May 14, 2013

    National ID card is the way to go……voters ID card can only be used to vote.

  10. I am Dominica.
    May 14, 2013

    In most European Countries they have a National ID card and an electronic voting card. In Sint Maarten which is Dutch, they also have a National ID and an electronic voting card. The Voting card is picked up at a date which is announced nationally just before elections. The card is held by the electoral Commision on presentation at the Voting booth until next elections… I remember a tape where Tony tell PM doh stray too far because madness! is hapenning at the electoral Commision, call in two members of de Commision and they talking of issueing voter ID cards which will end his election winning legacy words to that effect and so on and so forth, all you know de tape. The Byrd Legacy was broken the first time voter ID cards were introduced in Antigua and Babuda elections. How does Tony stand or fly withthe Byrds ?… go figure…

  11. For Richer Or Poorer
    May 13, 2013

    Last year a few of us took an unplanned trip to one of Dominica’s beautiful spots. Unfortunately some of us did not have a Dominica ID and was told we would have to pay to use the facilities as a non-national. Wev were not too pleased; not because of the cost, but because we were being treated like aliens. We had a driver license but unfortunately it was not a Dominican one and they would not accept it nor our Dominica bank card with our names on it as proper identification.

    So I believe a national identification card is a good idea for people who do not travel and therefore do not need a passport and those who do not drive and therefore do not need a driver’s license. But they do need an identification card.

    A voter ID card that expires after you vote in an election is a waste of money whereas as the national identification card would be more appropriate for identification purposes and for many uses.

  12. Malatete
    May 13, 2013

    Aren’t we focussing on the wrong issue here? The key must be a correct and up-to-dater voters’ list.
    if that is in place we should not worry too much what I.D. a voter presents, as long as it is ligitimate: passport, national I.D. car, driver licence. How difficult can that be with such a small population and relatively small number of nationals, entitled to vote? Of course it is important that only those qualified will cast their votes but aren’t we making mountains out of molehills?

    • Too Hard Too Long
      May 14, 2013

      I agree. How hard can it be? And why doesn’t the electoral commission just clean up the voter’s list?

      • February 6, 2014

        If they do all the persons who have gone to the great beyond names will have to be removed and one of the ways to do that is their should be a link between the hospitals and the electoral office so I agree with you it’s not hard to do and that’s why we need change in D’ica, and that haven got anything to do with political parties it have to do with the Rule of LAW and our CONSTITUTION and they must be adhered too

  13. Hate ignorance
    May 13, 2013

    Dominica’s population of eligible voters is never over 50,000 people no matter what , just look at our last census which puts the number below fifty thousand this means that there is no need to print 100,000 cards . The projected cost is therefore reduced by half , secondly the card’s lifespan don’t have to be limited to five years. The problem of persons being away for more than five years and wanting to vote can be easily solved . The cards as i understand it will be fitted with a magnetic strip which therefore can be used to trace or collect information, so once the ports of exit swipe the card of the person leaving or entering the country the information will be automatically saved on the card , if they don’t have the cards in their person, the mere swiping of our electronic readable passports would send the info into the system , on election day all we need at the voting station is a machine that can read the cards to determine the eligibility of the voter , bam problem solve , Any queries bring your passport when u going to vote to prove you not an alien. Now tom , dick and harry from Russia and China can get card if they want but if they are out too long they wont be able to vote simply. the card will sell them out . Voter Id cards all the way

    • Anonymous
      May 14, 2013

      I too hate ignorance, please tell me what happens to those people who do not own a Dominican passport? Will they not be allowed to vote even if they travel to Dominica every year?

    • Concern One
      May 14, 2013

      Is there any law that prevents Dominicans abroad from voting? I am Dominican and visit Dominica every year. I have a house and family in Dominica. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to vote?

  14. B.GI
    May 13, 2013

    Voter I’d cards all the way. This government rubbing the country blind.

  15. May 13, 2013

    You know I really think that half the persons who commented here didn’t even read the article properly. FIRST 100,000 cards to be issued free!
    The first 100,000 cards are being made available free of charge to the public then you pay for it afterward. Additionally, everyone would get an ID card (young, old, student, foreign student, foreign workers etc.) but there must be some element on the card that would differentiate who is eligible to vote from lets say a 10 yr old child.

    If you google MPID you would see that this is a regional identification system that was launched in Grenada in January with the other OECS countries involved and the US$3.14 Million is the total for all the countries so if my Math is right Dominica only paying US$785,000 (for the system) & US$96,000 (for the 1st 100,000 cards), a far cry from the previously proposed amount for the Electoral cards. I heard Emile this morning on Q saying that they print cards for EC$25 as opposed to US$96,000/100,000 = 96 US cents (US$0.96) per card.

    We as Dominicans must educate ourselves. Google Multi-purpose Identification and you will see a whole host of countries doing it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_identity_card_policies_by_country)

    Even last week Nigeria in partnership with MasterCard launched their Multi-purpose National ID Card (http://newsroom.mastercard.com/press-releases/mastercard-to-power-nigerian-identity-card-program/). They going to print 13 million cards first then and 100 million after the pilot project.

    Come on Dominicans. Give the Electoral Commission a chance to do their work (talk with political parties first then educate the general public). This non-sense of a few persons crying down a regional card without hearing the pros and cons, and having others follow blindly is madness.

    • Malatete
      May 13, 2013

      I am all for a national I.D. card provided:

      – it is not used to restrict individual freedoms Like the Nazis did with their version, the notorious “Ausweiss” during the second world war.
      – guarantees are in place that it can not be used to fraudulently cast a vote. ( I understand that in our case, for instance, plans are in place to allow Dominicans overseas to vote using such an I.D. without incurring the expense of actual travel to Dominica).

      • JUDGE DREDD
        May 14, 2013

        why do you people have to support ideologies even when you know it is unjust and because of who doing it….
        lord help us… i have a social security card, drivers license and a passport those are national idendification documents

      • May 14, 2013

        So everything we hear on the street is gospel truth these days. How on God Green Earth can Dominicans oversees cast votes without traveling to Dominica? The only way is to have a change in the Laws! The same Electoral Reform you calling for…and do you think they would touch that in this political climate? Gosh man, why do we not wait for the facts of the system to be announced/delivered by the custodians, the Electoral Commission.

        I too would like to know the details/specifications of the system but I will wait before I make biased statements like “no national ID, only voters ID”.

        Wake up people! Educate yourself and think for yourself.

    • Asterix
      May 13, 2013

      @Youngman read this: Health Minister,Julius Timothy, revealed that “100,000 national ID cards could be made available to Dominicans by the end of 2013” “This was in addition to a US$3.14 million contract awarded to 3M Innovative Properties to provide multipurpose ID cards to Dominicans”. Did any of these statements mention OECS cards? It specifically said to Dominica and by the way what is Dominica’s population? What is the population of the OECS?

      • Young Man Too!
        May 13, 2013

        Do some research before dispelling any doubt about yourself. So long they talking about that MPID for Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent.

        http://www.oecs.org/egrip-news/723-multi-purpose-identification-mpid-system-launched-in-grenada

        http://grenadaadvocate.blogspot.com/2013/02/new-mpid-set-in-motion.html

      • May 14, 2013

        If you really was following what was going on you would have heard Minister Savarin say the same thing at the last sitting of Parliament. I dare you to Google it. This is being funded by the World Bank project, EGRIP, of which Dominica only has US$2.4 Million to spend on the entire project. How then can Dominica alone be the one paying US$3.14 Million for the system and they have all other systems to put in place like the online Tax filing system IRD was talking about recently? Do your research…

        http://www.oecs.org/egrip-news/723-multi-purpose-identification-mpid-system-launched-in-grenada

      • Gary
        May 14, 2013

        Why are you making such statement quote “I really think that half the persons who commented here didn’t even read the article properly. FIRST 100,000 cards to be issued free!” Why is it that what you choose to focus on after reading the article makes you think that half the people commented did not read the article properly.

        You chose to focus on the cost of the cards and your reasons why you support the issuance of such cards,does that give you the right to make the statement about other people not reading the article properly. You are entitled to have your opinion and comprehend things the way you want but
        this does not give you the right to make judgements against other people.The article did not solely focus on the cost and benefits of such cards as you would want to focus on in your comment.

        The other thing about your comment is your statement about quote “We as Dominicans must educate ourselves.Do you think that following other Nations or doing what they have done is educating us through a Google link. That just displays a sheep mentality.Every country country is unique, their Politics, Population, History and Leadership.If you look at the countries you so quickly want us to Google who issued ID cards to their citizens,like Nigeria, have you not read or seem the upheavals and Political problems in that country.Our Dominica is unique with a different culture, do we really have to emulate them by issuing National ID cards.Educating oneself on a subject, especially the issuance of National ID cards is more than just pointing to a Google link,always remember knowledge is what you use to govern ignorance and that is what being held from us the masses.

    • ?
      May 13, 2013

      @Young [email protected] You are so smart that your understanding of basic elementary English had gone through the window.OOPS or maybe it one of the sycophants writing garbage, on behalf of the corrupt regime..

    • Frabo
      May 13, 2013

      “The first 100,000 cards are being made available FREE of charge to the public, then you pay for it afterwards.” So tell me; what makes it “FREE” if you have to pay for it afterwards? As you say, “we as dominicans must educate our-selves.”

      Well said. hehehehehehehe

      • Anonymous
        May 15, 2013

        I understood the comment on the 1st one free very well but for you someone needs to explain so I’ll try:

        When you get your passport or driver’s license the 1st time you always pay a fee right? Then when they expire or you have to replace them because they expired/lost/stolen/damaged you pay a fee to replace them right? Well in this case my understanding is that the very 1st time I get a national ID card (within the 1st 100,000 that is) I do not pay for it at all. Then if I have to replace it for whatever reason (expired/lost/stolen/damaged) then I would pay a fee for the new one.

        Simple logic to me. The 1st one is free to us.

    • Gary
      May 14, 2013

      Why are you making such statement quote “I really think that half the persons who commented here didn’t even read the article properly. FIRST 100,000 cards to be issued free!” Why is it that what you choose to focus on after reading the article makes you think that half the people commented did not read the article properly.

      You chose to focus on the cost of the cards and your reasons why you support the issuance of such cards,does that give you the right to make the statement about other people not reading the article properly. You are entitled to have your opinion and comprehend things the way you want but
      this does not give you the right to make judgements against other people.The article did not solely focus on the cost and benefits of such cards as you would want to focus on in your comment.

      The other thing about your comment is your statement about quote “We as Dominicans must educate ourselves.DO you think that flowing other Nations or doing what they have done is educating us through a Google link. That just displays sheep mentality.Every country country is unique eg their Politics

  16. William Mc Lawrence
    May 13, 2013

    Every Citizen should be required to have a National Identification Card. The idea of a Multipurpose Identification Card is a good one. Such a card (Smart Card or One Card) could contain details on Social Security Number, Drivers License Number, Voter Registration Number,Banking information, Insurance information etc etc etc but we will require the technology and resources to do that.

    In the absence of such a card, then there is need for a separate National Identification Card and a separate Voter Registration Card…

    I do hope this matter will be addressed amicably and in quick time… :wink:

    • Malgraysa
      May 13, 2013

      And you would happily be a “consultant”, wouldn’t you William, for a fee of course.

      • Anonymous
        May 14, 2013

        I am sure that you read my contribution to the discussion. I am not looking for a job, i simply commented on the issue and if you read my comment you would have read “…there is need for a separate National Identification Card and a separate Voter Registration Card…”

      • William Mc Lawrence
        May 14, 2013

        no my friend i will leave that one for you… am a regular at soup kitchens and thrift shops. i know how to take care of my needs, thank you…lmao.

        now please read my contribution to the discussion and note: “…THERE IS NEED FOR A SEPARATE NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION CARD AND A SEPARATE VOTER REGISTRATION CARD…”

    • Frabo
      May 13, 2013

      So de passport not valid for ID no more? all you making it easier for all nationalities to become dominicans? all you forget that, amongst all you are a people known world wide for their counterfeiting professionalism? De Chanese will counterfeit and card all you print. Hey! i need some cards for some friends of mine up here in the…..

  17. I DIE NU
    May 13, 2013

    To spend all that money on a card to be used ONCE every 5 years?…Oh boy!

    • JUDGE DREDD
      May 14, 2013

      stop being foolish, the figures the pm gave are figures of his head.

  18. CuCumber
    May 13, 2013

    If the National ID Cards are printed, I can see where this will be another waste of money, by this failed regime.
    The National ID card should be rejected, forthwith and demands made for Voter ID Card.

    • Concern One
      May 14, 2013

      I guess you are another blinded party follower. I love reading you all comments. Thats entertainment. The commedy club.

  19. A Voice
    May 13, 2013

    Boy, that is a mix up, mix up wee. I can clearly see with the argument of both sides there.

    Really, a card to serve only one purpose every 5 years would not justify the cost.

    But how does a National ID Card guarantee a clean and fair voting process?

    For example, a Dominican could come from foreign and show their birth paper or passport and get a National ID Card, but then this person leaves and returns to foreign where they spend the next 4 years and then return again to vote.

    This issue ought to be debated openly and clearly before the people and some sort of solution found.

    • Doc. Love
      May 13, 2013

      For your information,we have the Roseau Town Council elections every two years.Their is also Village Council elections.

      • Malatete
        May 13, 2013

        Do you have voter I.D. cards for that?

    • Anonymous
      May 13, 2013

      I leave and work overseas, I own a house in Dominica and save my money at a bank back home, plus have a retirement plan at the Roseau Credit Union (MRA). Are you suggesting that I should not be allowed to vote in Dominica?

      • Malgraysa
        May 13, 2013

        Not If you have beemn absent for more than five consecutive years, No.

      • Frabo
        May 13, 2013

        House, money and property is no requisite for voting eligibility; unless you stay in your house on the island. But why should people vote when their country is ruled by a dictator? the other side just CANNOT win!!! voting is the wrong way to get rid of such leaders.

      • Anonymous
        May 14, 2013

        You should be able to vote after all you are a citizen of Dominica. I don’t live in Dominica but I go down to vote every time there is an election…

    • Me again
      May 13, 2013

      Why not just follow the Constitution? That’s what it is there for.

      Will the so-called national ID card clean up the out-dated voters list? Of course not. You are correct, a so-called national ID card cannot guarantee a clear and accurate process.

  20. IPO
    May 13, 2013

    Leaders in this country are so corrupt, that one day will not pass without a major issue fundamental to its development being transgressed upon.
    Concerned Dominicans should make it known to the Electoral Commission that enough is enough. Voter ID Card is what is being demanded. Otherwise there should be no election.

    • Anonymous
      May 13, 2013

      well didn’t UWP say they would not take part in next election if things are not right? Let’s see who is man.

    • Concern One
      May 14, 2013

      Who is demanding voter ID Cards? Yes, a few is for it and a few is against it. Now if you want to go by those who supports the Govt vs those who don’t, I think that you will see the Govt. supporters are in majority for after all, they did win by a landslide 18-3.

  21. Too Hard Too Long
    May 13, 2013

    Many people believe that just issuing voter ID cards will clean up the voter’s list. Some of us need to know how true that is.

    – What does the electoral commission do between elections?
    – Does it only function at General election time?
    – If they are permanent workers, aren’t they supposed to be cleaning out the voters’ list continuously?
    – Why do we have to wait for ID card for this to be done?
    – Would a national ID card have the same info as a voters ID card?
    – What activities (associated with a voters card) will be ignored if we go with the national ID card?
    – Can we conduct these same activities regardless and get the list cleared up anyway?

    I could ask so many questions.

    I’d really love to hear some objective discussion on this issue because every single time this comes up, it is so mixed up in politics that the message is never clear.

    If we just calm down and discuss issues rationally we would resolve things so much faster.

    • ////////////
      May 13, 2013

      Voters ID Card and ‘cleaning out of the list’ are two key factors that should be accomplished before the next General Election.

    • Me again
      May 13, 2013

      Could you also educate us as to how the Voters List gets updated? What is the correct process, if you know?

    • Malgraysa
      May 13, 2013

      Very valid points. We have a population of fewer than 70,000. What is the annual cost of the electorial commission? Do we get value for money?

  22. ___________________
    May 13, 2013

    Dominicans must ‘put boots on the ground’, and demand VOTER ID CARD.
    VOTER ID CARD
    VOTER ID CARD
    VOTER ID CARD
    ELSE
    Boots on the Ground.

    • real possie
      May 14, 2013

      Boots on the ground look joke when them dry rot boots unstick is so u all will fall on u all face.

      • real possie
        May 14, 2013

        modarating long papa and iknow i did not spell it right.

  23. Reason
    May 13, 2013

    What is the differences between a National ID and a Voters ID in terms of qualification? In other words what are the requirements for each? Admin I would really appreciate some clarification on that?

    • Pointe Michel-Roseau
      May 13, 2013

      A Voter ID Card can only be given to citizens over the age of 18.

    • Reason
      May 13, 2013

      The feedback is very interesting… While I am very concern about a National ID for voting, I realize this is not so unusual. At the recently concluded elections in Barbados, National ID were used and voters could not be prevented from voting if they forgot their ID. A greater surprise was that, the National ID are issued by the Electoral Office, that’s where I got my ID. You can read the history at http://www.electoral.barbados.gov.bb/historyelectoraldept.html.

      In Jamaica; however, as there is no national ID card, the Voters ID is used as a de facto national ID, and in some cases is internationally accepted.

      • JUDGE DREDD
        May 14, 2013

        dominica has at least three id documents, ss card, drivers license and passport….

  24. May 13, 2013

    you say d country doe have money
    yet you printing cards dat people doe ask for.

    people ask for VOTER ID CARDS

  25. Doc. Love
    May 13, 2013

    Dominicans of age have a drivers license, many Dominicans also possess a passport,Dominicans of age have a Social Security card. Many Banks also issue I.D. Cards,therefore,why do the Government want to issue another card which it says will be used primarily for voting. What the Electoral Commission needs to do first is to insist that the electoral laws are followed. If that doesn’t work,whatever card the Government forces it to print, must have the person’s address,the voting location and precinct number,the person’s date of birth,the registration date and number,the date of issue, the person’s picture.I would like the Government to explain to the people of Dominica,how these pertinent information are going be obtained as regards an under aged child, should it go the way of the multi purpose I.D. card .

  26. Asterix
    May 13, 2013

    My math may not be the best but I know US$2.089-million is less than US$96,000 for the issuance of the first 100,000 + US$3.14 million contract awarded to 3M Innovative Properties

    • Anonymous
      May 13, 2013

      For 4 islands (Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia and St. Vincent)! You people amazing!!!

  27. Faceup
    May 13, 2013

    Mr Astaphans, my my my, you are a waist of time. We need a true opposition but not you..

    • JUDGE DREDD
      May 14, 2013

      dont hate de man, he only spoke the truth.. i am not found of him also but his words were true… see beyond the hate.

  28. Gary
    May 13, 2013

    The controversy regarding the issuance of a Voter ID card or a National ID card is all due to the Incompetence of the Electoral Commission and a few cleaver Politicians using this to gain Political mileage and manipulate the public.It is The Electoral Commission mandate to make sure the voting list is complied and made ready for elections when due and this should be done on a regular basis and not just before an election.

    The number of people eligible to vote in Dominica is very small, what is the problem updating such a list making it accurate before an election, that bewilders me, calling for and recommending the issuance of a voter ID card is nonsense and waste of taxpayers money or any other ID card plus this just gives the opposition an avenue to exploit a situation calling for fair elections.What makes a fair election is the compiling of an accurate list of the people eligible to vote,that means keeping that list updated making sure that the people on the list are verified for eligibility and supervision of the voting process at polling stations, these are the fundamentals in having a fair elections. To think that the issuance of a voter ID card
    to prevent voter fraud is full proof is some what naive.

    Dominicans already have three forms of Government issue IDS a Drivers License, a Birth certificate and Passport.Why anyone of these cannot be accepted at polling stations as a way to verify someone eligibility to vote if deemed not eligible.The Electoral Commission should be held accountable for such fiasco and Politicians should stop exploiting this to gain Political mileage,it is not going to help them a the ballot box.

    • hope
      May 15, 2013

      I concur. It is possible to cleanse the list and continue on our way. You have a lapse of four years to prepare a list… how is that not possible?

  29. Buy Local
    May 13, 2013

    The national ID card should be linked with the Social Security and Hospital System, so that when someone is declared dead their card MUST BE deactivated within “X” amount of time.

    • Dr Z
      May 13, 2013

      This is a very good suggestions and I think It is a workable one.

  30. Da
    May 13, 2013

    A national ID card system is the right way to go on this.
    It seems like everything in Da have to have Ro Ro in it .
    When will we grow-up and act like adults. The Electoral Commission deals with elections and should not be handling national ID cards. So soon they will want to give them the tasks of printing driver license!!
    Do the right thing!

  31. %
    May 13, 2013

    Very important and worthwhile concern Mr Astaphan. Hope you get the fullest support of the other opposition party(parties) on this one.
    FAILED INSTITUTIONS =POOR COUNTRY=FAILED STATE.

  32. On my Knees
    May 13, 2013

    I guess my initial comment gave the people food for thought so it cannot be published huh. LOL. Thank God I have dual citizenship.

  33. looking 2
    May 13, 2013

    why is the cost to produce 40000 cards so expensive we we have a small population so why is the cost so high i need someone to explain how they arrive at such a figure to produce a few Voter ID cards

    • %
      May 13, 2013

      I too need explanation!

  34. Seminole Ave
    May 13, 2013

    Just refusing to return to set up any kind of shop In Dominica..

    Why on earth has Dominica become so foolish..

    Dominica is rated the “Poorest in the Eastern Caribbean” yet the citizens aren’t concerned.

    Dominica is a failed caribbean island because the Citizens down there fail to take action.

    To hell with them, skero sell them to China they Will turnaround and say thank God for you..

    What a passive, backward and Highly ignorant island Dominica is…

    All the Caribbean islands have id cards for voting Yet the so call smart folks sit back and say nothing…

    • HIM
      May 13, 2013

      All signs are under this corrupt regime it will become even poorer. WHAT A SHAME!

      • IPO
        May 13, 2013

        Just check what is happening at PMH, with vital medical machines.

    • Gary
      May 14, 2013

      To Seminloe Ave

      Wow, When you mention about you would not want to set up any shop in Dominica I found that laughable.The reason I say this is because of your thinking and mentality.You comment has not shown me you are somewhat capable of setting up any shop in Dominica stop the BS.Your arrogance, ego and beliefs as to what you think of Dominica belongs to you alone.When you mention that Dominica is the Poorest country in the Eastern Caribbean, I would like to ask you relative to what.Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.Sometimes it take a comment like yours to show the extent of one’s ignorance.

  35. On My Knees
    May 13, 2013

    The citizens of Dominica who are employed or of legal status to work, do have Social Security cards, Passports are used as a national identification for citizens, the drivers license also serves some identification purpose. Why is it so difficult to get this Prime Minister to see the need for the Voters ID Card? What is the use of the National ID ALL PURPOSE CARD? Should we then discard our driver’s licenses, social security cards and even our passports and use this National ID card for everything else? Prime Minister Skerrit, we the people of this country want the Voter ID Cards. I pray that my prayers are answered because this country that I have grown to love is being disrespected time and time again by the current Prime Minister and his administration.

    I also assume that my 14 year old daughter, a holder of the National ID Card, will be eligible to vote in the next general election?

    Dominicans, its time to get off your comfort zones and vote this PM and his administration out of office. He has no respect for the citizens of this country. He expects applauds for services performed which he was elected to do and cares very little about the judicial and legal statutes of this country. How much longer must we allow such disrespect and malicious behavior to go on?

    Then, what hurts the most, he uses the name of my Lord in vain, to justify or clarify his points of view. I am on my way out, but you young people will reap the benefits. Wake up, stop partying and concern yourselves with Dominica’s and your children’s futures.

  36. To be Fair
    May 13, 2013

    The Dominica Constitution gives the “Independent” Electoral Commission the RIGHT to do whatever is necessary according to Law to ensure Elections are FREE and FAIR.

    The Commission recommended in its report years ago VOTER ID cards and cleaning of the Voters’ list for future elections. The voters’ list is bloated with names of dead people and those not eligible to vote.

    The Commission requested from Skerritt and his DLP Govt, funds to carry out important electoral reforms, i.e., to clean up the ‘dirty” voters list and produce Voter ID Cards. Pas jordi nuh!!!! The Commission has never asked for National ID cards.

    The OAS as well as CARICOM also recommended Voter ID Cards and to clean up the Voters’ List. Dominicans have been pleading for years to the Govt to obey the Law, respect the “independence” of the institutions and to allow Electoral reforms. Anything short of that would send signals that elections in Dominica would be pregnant with irregularities, fraud, cheating, stealing.

    All over the world citizens are demonstrating, struggling for free and fair elections, for the rule of Law, against dictatorship. A stitch in time saves nine my people.

    The Electoral Commission has no right to swallow its vomit and be bullied by Govt. to produce National ID cards, after it has recommended Voter Id cards. It is Skerritt and Govt who are stalling the Commission. An injunction must be filed in the court to prevent the issuance of National ID Cards. It is the Govt. which does not want Voter ID Cards. People realize by now why. No Election without electoral reforms.

    Why should Skerritt and his Cabal be so reluctant to ensure elections are Free and Fair by disrespecting the genuine wishes of the Electoral commission and Dominicans on a whole? How on papa God earth a nation could allow so few to control their lives in all aspects? One man rule in action? How long? Not Long.

    • Gary
      May 14, 2013

      Your interpretation as to what the constitution says the mandate of the Electoral Commission is makes me shiver.You call for a free and fair election saying and insisting one man rules the country and at the same time your ignorant interpretation as to what the Electoral Commission is describes it as an Institution set up under the Nazis to govern elections, is this the type of commission you would like to govern elections in Dominica, sorry to say this is not what the constitution mandates,where are the checks and balances for such commission,unfortunately it is just your ignorance of interpretation.

      If the commission ask for funds to clean up the voters list as you say,why can they go on and clean the list what’s so hard in doing this,isn’t that their job what is all this about a Voters ID card. Your rhetoric sounds straight out of the mouth of UWP why are you blowing some else horn without question their motive.

      • February 6, 2014

        No, I do believe that you were the one who is not understanding the role of the commission office the money is needed because they have to hire people to help to do the work plus other supplies that will be needed, the DLP,UWP,Freedom parties haven got to tell you that why dont you read and understand the constitution for yourself your own rhetoric comes from ignorant for the rule of law and the constitution and that’s sad.

  37. TRUEMAN
    May 13, 2013

    **RULES AND REGULATIONS**

    “DNO attemped to contact the Electoral Commissioner on Monday but we were told that he is not feeling well”.

    Yes, That’s understandable! If my department [Electoral Commission] was printing cards other than “voter ID cards” I would feel sick.That must have given him a “headache”.

    IF this is true,I mean how will the commisioner answer this question. Who gave him such authority.

    We need to follow rules & regulation. It is what keeps things in order!!

    -Thanks

  38. kubano
    May 13, 2013

    I think we need the national ID card. A national ID card has a number of benifits, however, I have some concerns:
    concern #1- wheather it will be used as a voter ID card, and if yes then how is it going to address concerns that has been raised in the past of dominicans leaving overseas who just come home to vote.
    cioncern # 2 is the quantity of ID cards a 100,000 cards when the population of d/cans in Dominica leaving is about 70,000 what will happen to the remainder,
    And therefore if its not going to address that issue I think then it should not be used for voting purposes.
    However, the national ID card is absolutely necessary.

    • February 6, 2014

      Stop contradicting yourself please

  39. Massacre
    May 13, 2013

    But why can’t this labour party do anything right noh??
    In a simple matter like this they trying their best to see how they can gain an advantage where there is obviously none. A national ID card is the way to go. But!obviously the Electorial Commission cannot be given the responsibility to print these cards, or else these cards could be encoded to favour a particular party at voting machines. (Labourites you should also be concerned as well, because your party will not be in power all the time)
    Now that they know the diasporans will not come down to vote for them again, they are trying to raise all hell remain in power.
    But this time around Dominicans have risen to the tasks and will show the world that we are ready to to put all these contraversial ministers behind us and join the international community again.

    • Frabo
      May 13, 2013

      Massacre i second the MOTION.

  40. Jus Saying
    May 13, 2013

    Astaphan thanks for brining that issue to light! My question to you is do you even hv a party anymore…lol? what are you all doing to reinvent or re-energizer the party? Pls place some attention on that matter too.

  41. Devil in D Cocoa
    May 13, 2013

    Sigh…why are my people so behind the times…

  42. Kazai
    May 13, 2013

    Politrix in a Coconut Republic

  43. Lang mama
    May 13, 2013

    They afraid of IPO Investigation
    They afraid voter ID cards
    They afraid of pursuing the fire bomb
    They afraid to proceed with 42 charges
    They afraid to continue with Thomson Fontaine case
    They afraid to let the Matt Peltier case go to the courts
    They afraid to release the MOU
    they afraid to say if they have French Passports
    They afraid to appoint Tiyanni as magistrate
    They afraid of a young lawyer clement Joseph as magistrate

    Never seen a GOVERNENT so popular yet they are so coward. Gwa gel pa nir la force so they must connive and deceive just to stay in power. Sakwais volere qui yo yais.

    • I DIE NU
      May 13, 2013

      Lang mama,those who fight and runaway,shall live to fight another day.Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

      • "O" STRESS"
        May 13, 2013

        Do not let your Heart be troubled. Mr Clement Joseph can always take up employment in the Turks and cacaus Island. The pay in US$$$$$.When one door is closed,kick down another, and Mr Joseph will do that soon.

  44. Dr. Ben Haynes PsyD
    May 13, 2013

    The government seems to be dancing around a very important issue which is the rights of citizens as to privacy, and freedom which is basic human rights which the learned Minister (Astaphan) has pointed out. Like the Minister, most D/cans agree that the “government has the authority to print whatever the govt wants to” therefore, the argument as to who has the authority under the constitution to print and enforce this ACT must not be ignored under any circumstance. As long as this law is ignored or the will of the people is denied, then the people has a right to reject it, and call for serious debate on whether IDs must focus on voting or other requirements. The majority of D/cans believe that it is the duty of the Government to obey the law. Afterall, they expect us(citizens)to do so.

    • Bewildered
      May 13, 2013

      Dr. Ben obviously does not know what or who he is talking about…who is Minister Astaphan Dr. Ben? Please understand issues before you make an attempt to comment.

      • Dr. Ben Haynes PsyD
        May 13, 2013

        Thank you for your swift comment Bewildered. Regardless of who or what Mr. Astaphan is or holds l look at him as a political figure. l may call him a Minister or perhaps an officer of a political party. l am more interested however, in his arguments. He made some valid points and l totally agree with them. Again, thank you for your comment

  45. Mamizoo
    May 13, 2013

    Just another attempt to manipulate every system of control to their advantage. Let assume that an ID card will cost voters $ 100 EC and with 40 thousand voters that s only $ 40000 EC. To tell us that an d card will cost $1000 dollars a po is just a frigging insult to peope’s I telling ench. The truth is a plastic card will not even cst $50 EC. hw much blatant lies can te pope stomach in our country. If the pM is concerned about price why not focus strictly on people who are in Dominica and limit the ID cards to legal voters. But he must put his foot in his mouth that the voter card is too expensive my god since when 40000 is more than 100000? I guess since right is wrong and vice versa in Dominica. They can now defy the simple mathematical rules.1+1 = 11
    An obvious effort to rig the election. The laborites boast about their strength yet tey are afraid to step into a level playing field.
    I would like to hear Dorival John the sanctimonious Laborite justify the neglect of voter Identification cards. Maybe Peeping Tom/IPO can explain to us why their Labor Party afraid of voter ID card just like the devil afraid of holy water. What a travesty. I cannot believe that I this day and age this corrupt government is blatantly abusing the people of Dominica.

    • Anonymous
      May 13, 2013

      You obviously forgot that putting the system in place has costs: servers, computers, finger print readers, cameras, development costs, training, backup systems, card printers, the database, software license fees, card design (even FSI would charge $50,000 alone to design that), etc…and that is before you ever produce a single card.

      You people should stop sit at you home/work computers and typing non-sense without thinking. Everything in this world has costs…even doing a surgery have costs in the thousands…

      • May 14, 2013

        Really for a voter card. You finger print reader, servers,high tech cameras, sophisticated software. Really really. When we done with the package we can sell our model to the state of Florida and Ohio.
        2-3 computers $ 15000
        Software $ 6-10 k
        System configuration $ 20K
        Printing material $45 K
        Training $30k
        Misc $ $30k

        Revenue
        40000 voters x $50 =$200K

        Add whatever, do your modifications and come up with $4 million expenditure Smarty pants

      • February 6, 2014

        the money to do other things that are not needed is available but money to do what is right is not is it because hand outs are the way to go in Dominica and to hell with other matters, why dont you wake up.

    • Hate ignorance
      May 13, 2013

      i support voter ID cards but your maths could not be more wrong . 100 X 40000 cant be 40000.

    • Hype
      May 14, 2013

      @Mamizoo….I don’t suupport Gov’t cutting corners, ignoring rules but your math is off wi pal. A simple calculator use could save you this embarrasment. $100 EC cannot = $40000. Your zeros are cooked munbers, are the missing zeros meant to mislead like the Gov’t you’re blaming??

      • Hype
        May 14, 2013

        I meant to say $ 100 EC times 40 thousand voters cannot = $40000…I didn’t try to mislead. lol

  46. kuba
    May 13, 2013

    with the voter i d card will have a control on corruption you have to follow the registration procedure listed by the Constitution will will cleanup the voters list with a new one and it is the new list the pm do not want i do not think it is the cost

  47. Bull Crap
    May 13, 2013

    To me personally and me only. cant speak for anyone else. A nationalized card is best. one card proving your a citizen of this country. not resident. this card can be used to travel and vote. the issue i have is not the card is self. but the people responsibly for maintaining this system.Cause the card on its own in not corrupt. the question remains are the people maintaining this system honest?

    • Anonymous
      May 13, 2013

      Two ID cards are a waste of money and time. A national card would serve multiple porposes. Why do you need two cards in your wallet. Must country have one card they use for voting and identification..

      • JIM
        May 13, 2013

        @ Anonymous I can have 1000 000 000 000 000 000 000 cards in my wallet, but one MUST BE A VOTER ID CARD!
        ONE MUST BE A VOTER ID CARD.

    • May 13, 2013

      tHE ELECTORAL COMMISION DID NOT ASK FOR NATIONAL ID CARDS
      the electoral commision asked for VOTER ID CARDS
      THE NATIONAL ID CARDS DO NOT ENSURE FREE AND FARE ELECTIONS AS DO THE VOTER ID CARDS

      • Too Hard Too Long
        May 13, 2013

        How exactly does voter ID cards ensure free and fair elections?

      • Malatete
        May 13, 2013

        If a national ID card serves that purpose, what is the objection?

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