Electoral Commission convenes meetings on national ID card system

Gerald Burton is the chairman of the Electoral Chairman of Dominica. File photo

The Electoral Commission, on Thursday June 29, 2017, convened preliminary meetings with representatives from all political parties and Civil Society Groups, Trade Unions and the Dominica State College Student Council to discuss the implementation process of the new National Identification Card System.

The meetings provided an opportunity for the stakeholders present to interact with the Commission and it was agreed that further interaction was necessary.

The Commission, in recent times, sought and received approval from the Government of Dominica for funding of the project to the tune of EC$6,130,350.00. The Electoral Commission wasted no time in commissioning the development of a modern identification system from a reputable international firm that the system has since been developed and installed at the Electoral Office.

In addition, the Commission has already begun the recruitment of about 15 young persons who will serve as enrollment officers.

At the meeting, it was proposed that enrolment of electors will be done on Constituency levels, with the deployment of enrolment officers to various communities and also at the Electoral Office. Provision is made to accommodate electors who are unable to go to the enrolment centres.

The Chairman of the Commission, Gerald Burton, in his opening remarks, stated, “In accordance with its mandate under section 51 of the Constitution, the Commission last year and over a period of several months, extensively reviewed draft legislation presented to it by the Executive, for its comments. The draft legislation included proposals for the implementation of an identification card system for use in elections.”

Chairman Burton stated further, “In its comments to the draft legislative amendments, the Commission urged changes to the proposed system along lines which it felt would be more compatible with the previously proposed Multi-Purpose Identification System (MPID), which had been acquired and implemented under the aegis of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).”

However, plans for the MPID System had to be halted as the system’s developer had been unable to deliver under its maintenance obligations, apparently due to the fact that it had sold the division of the company which provided the service.

As a result, the Commission strongly believed that every effort had to be made to ensure prior to the constitutional deadline for the holding of the next general elections, an ID card system, which would facilitate the cleaning up of the electoral list and the issuance of identification cards would be implemented.

The Chairman noted, “To [have] waited for the conclusion of the OECS’s negotiations with its contractor, was in our view, not an option. It was for this reason, the Commission sought out new potential suppliers and entered into discussions, which resulted in the development of the new system. The Commission is pleased that its suggestions for the process by which electors are to be enrolled as set out in the legislation, were accepted by the Executive. In addition, the Chief Elections Officer was invited to work with the drafting staff of the Ministry of Justice, to revise the drafts accordingly.”

In addition to the implementation of an ID system, the taking of biometric data and the protection thereof forms part of the proposed amending legislation.

Chief Elections Officer, Steven LaRocque during the meeting gave a brief overview of the process for the enrollment of the national ID cards.

“The period for the enrollment will be for an initial period of ten months and may be extended by the Electoral Commission. During that period, electors will be required to furnish documents such as their birth certificate, approved form of pictorial ID, (passport, driver’s license, social security card), marriage certificate in the case of married women, deed poll (change of name) and certificate of naturalization to confirm, verify and update the electors list.”

He went on to explain further, “Individuals who apply for new registration will also have to be enrolled to get an ID card. At the end of the confirmation period, the names of the electors who did not enroll for a card will be written to, at the last known address giving a time limit to respond. Failure to respond will result in the names being removed in accordance with legislation.”

When this process is completed, a new and updated Electors List will be printed and published for public scrutiny.

He also mentioned that the Electoral Office will continue to work with the Civil Registry in dealing with the electors who are reported as dead.

The proposed implementation of an identification system for use in the electoral process is just one of the latest stages of action taken by the Commission, to modernize and improve the process.

Thursday’s meetings represented the start of a series of consultations, which will include town hall styled meetings in various communities around the island, in addition to radio, television and internet promotional campaigns to be launched by the Commission very soon.

The full opening statements of the Chairman of the Electoral Commission and the Chief Elections Officer can be found on the Electoral Office’s website and Facebook page.

 

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13 Comments

  1. Just for laughs
    July 5, 2017

    Sorry it’s Mr.Burton right? My bad Thanks to my sister for correcting a grave error.
    My sincere apologies.

    • How to stop this shit
      July 6, 2017

      Thought he was a Charles too now am learning which Burton group does he come from not the bz-ness ones Not even the ones on Hillsborough street bc ther are 6 boys none named G he is a Burton?
      let the Burtons speak

  2. ye yep
    July 5, 2017

    You know this guy taught me religion in SMA. I really thought this guy was going to become a Brother or a Priest. I never expected this.

  3. freedom fighter
    July 4, 2017

    Voters ID cards and cleansing of the voters list is not only an opposition issue but an issue for all Dominicans. We already have numerous ID cards what we want is a card for voting period.

  4. Ibo France
    July 4, 2017

    The Electoral Commission is as good as the in charge officers. These officers must be of impeccable integrity. They must be people who put country before party. Usually, the government fills these positions with malleable people whose agenda is to curry favor with the ruling political party. All the electors want is a level playing field for all parties contesting the general elections. Fairness and transparency should be the hallmarks of any election so when the eventual winners are declared, we would have the comforting conviction that the winners are unquestionably legitimate. The winning party can then immediately proceed to carrying out its mandate without distractions of election petitions.

  5. twaka
    July 4, 2017

    Mr.Gerald, your office is mandated to deal with elections, and not other National matters. The issuing of ID CARDS must be dealt with by the competent Ministry. Doh say we didden warn you… 8) 8) 8)

    • The Darkness
      July 4, 2017

      What exactly are you plotting?

      Don’t you know we exist in all corners… watching… waiting?

      Let the thing run its course… if it is no good, then scrap it…

      What you need to watch is…:
      1) the full list, the methods set for identification
      2) how secure is the system on a whole…
      3) Persons with access to the back ground system (Admins)

      Threatening Mr.Burton however… shows how stupid you are… molly coddle!

      • The Darkness
        July 4, 2017

        Scrap the National ID Cards… We need the VOTER ID CARDS!!!

        I dont think anyone desires to be tracked… how stupid do you want our people to look… too late for that though… the image is pretty clear.

      • dayba
        July 5, 2017

        …..go to hell where you belong :evil: :evil:

  6. love my country
    July 4, 2017

    I hope is voters ID cards (which is specifically for voting) instead of national ID cards.

  7. %
    July 4, 2017

    So why not VOTER ID CARD?It is really a SHAMEFUL state,that in 2017 we are discussing this issue long after all other countries have had the system in place.It speaks loudly to the corrupt elections we have been subjected to over the past 3 election cycles,that corrupt politicians have been exploiting to their advantage..As one who has no trust and confidence in THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION,those who lead the ship of state and those who dictate to corrupt leaders,I am calling upon the OPPOSITION and concerned citizens who love Dominica,to closely scrutinize EVERY MOVE of this commission,WHICH IS NOT INDEPENDENT,to see if trickery and deception is not high up on their agenda.Remember the country itself is run by TRICKERY and DECEPTION.
    Even the Commonwealth Election Observer Mission told us election 2014 was not necessarily fair.ITS A broken country that we live in,and its replete with broken institutions!

    • Truth Knowledge
      July 4, 2017

      People like you have no limit to your obtuseness and bias. Whatever one calls the card, the important factor is does it fulfil its purpose i.e. ensure one vote per person in an election. Secondly, it is a totally false claim that “all other countries have a Voter ID Card system in place”. The UK for e.g. with its 60+ million population does not. Thirdly, the Electoral Commission is constituted in accordance with and as INDEPENDENT as the Constitution provided it should be: 2 Commissioners nominated by the Prime Minister, 2 Commissioners nominated by the Leader of the Opposition and the Chairman appointed by the President. I’m sure are well aware that “not necessarily fair” in the context of an Electoral Observer Mission Report is a nonsensical term as it means “not necessarily unfair”. If anything, it suggests a biased Mission unable to substantiate any negativity but unwilling to give the clean bill of health adherence to its mandate required. Compare the OAS and the CARICOM…

  8. FORKIT
    July 4, 2017

    my school friend Gerald, we used to speak of the ills in our country and now i see you dancing with the devil. i hope it does not diminish you, spiritually and morally, if it hasn’t already… bro do what is right because you were raised doing so. god bless your father. VOTER ID CARDS THAT IS NEEDED.

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