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Don’t rush cards before an election – Pickering

Dr Kedrick Pickering (foreground). Photo Credit: Andre ‘Shadow’ Dawson/BVI News Online

The man being touted as the next likely leader of the governing National Democratic Party, Dr Kedrick Pickering, has advised against any attempt to introduce Voter Registration Cards in a rush before the next general election.

He said enough time should be available to facilitate a public education campaign, as well as to give all eligible persons an opportunity to obtain the card.

Dr Pickering, who also is the territory’s deputy premier as well as minister of natural resources and labour, sounded the advice as lawmakers seek to amend the Elections Act to facilitate the introduction of Voter Registration Cards.

He said: “What we have to do is to ensure that from an administrative point of view the system is put in place to ensure that, between now and whenever the next general election is held, all registered voters and those who will be registered have the opportunity to ensure that they obtain the Voter Registration Card.”

“I am sure also that there will be a fair amount of work that will be done by the government officials responsible for this to ensure that the public education campaign is done to verify – to ensure that all of us are duly informed how to get this [Voter Registration Card] process completed,” Dr Pickering further said.

He does not think there should be any controversy over whether the cards should be introduced.

“I don’t see anything controversial about this. I think it’s something that has to happen whether it is today, next week, next year, next 10 years. It has to happen; and what better time than now,” Dr Pickering asserted.

He further reasoned: “We are a growing nation. We are getting to the point where the election supervisor or the polling clerk or whoever at the polling station doesn’t know exactly who all the registered voters are, [considering] the changing dynamics of our population. This is just an issue of evolution, so to speak. We are evolving as the country grows.”

Other identification purposes

Dr Pickering, in the meantime, hopes the Voter Registration Cards will eventually become another form of identification when conducting business.

“It is a credit to note that, in today’s world with identity theft and all that, this [Voter Registration Card] can also be used for other identification purposes.”

“We are hoping that the Voter Registration Card should be recognizable at the bank when you go to change your cheque or to do any other business. It should be an additional form of identification that can be used. Be that as it may, that is also an issue of evolution as time passes that the card – with its biometric data – will become difficult for anybody to fool around with, and so will be useful as we go along,” Dr Pickering said.

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