- Published Date
- Written by Staff Reporter
- Category: Politics
Multi-purpose Identification Cards (MPID) which can be used in the voting process are expected to be distributed here by year end.
Acting Prime Minister Julius Timothy made that revelation at parliament Friday morning.
According to Timothy, in October 2012 cabinet granted the contract for the MPID project to 3M Innovative Properties Company at an amount of US $3.14 million. Of that total, Dominica contributed US $785,000.
He further informed that cabinet had approved an additional US $96,000 for the issuance of the first 100,000 identity cards.
Timothy said that the electoral commission is the body responsible for the issuance and administration of the MPID system. The commission is expected to collaborate with the contracted company, along with the OECS and local civil registry to bring the project to fruition.
Opposition parties here have been calling for electoral reform, with repeated requests for the cleansing of the voters list and the issuance of voter identifications cards.
However, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has assured that he would not support the implementation of voter ID cards but instead he would see to the issuance of the MPID cards which could be used for other processes such as travel between OECS states.
In June 2011, Skerrit argued that the initial cost of issuing voter ID cards was estimated at $2 million, not taking into account the added costs for the actual management and implementation of the system.
“One of the reasons why we choose to go with the national ID card as opposed to a voter ID card is simply because one would be able to use the national ID card for multiple purposes. And even at the OECS level, there is talk of the introduction of an OECS white-card and one would be able to use one’s National ID card (to travel between OECS countries),” Skerrit said on live radio in 2011.
But Opposition Leader Hector John differed in opinion stating that, “Voter ID cards will make the voters of this country independent; a national ID card, anyone can have. Social Security cards can be used as national ID, driver’s license and passport... A voter ID card, that is what the electoral commission is mandated to do.”
At parliament on Friday, the health minister noted that the chairman and members of the electoral commission had endorsed the MPID system via a letter dated November 25, 2012.
According to Timothy, the letter said that the commission was satisfied with the system being proposed after holding discussions with the representatives from the OECS.
“Dominica is expected to be the first country to benefit from the issuance of the card,” Timothy said.
He took the opportunity to address the opposition on the matter.
“I hope that this satisfies the opposition and we will no longer hear these complaints on radio and every opportunity they get for ID cards, ID cards, ID cards. You will have your ID cards and you will be beaten soundly again in the next election,” he said.