Why Re-Registration Cannot Happen this Year
Re-registration of voters will be put off until 2018, but the Prime Minister has committed to having it happening before re-districting of electoral boundaries and a referendum on the International Court of Justice, as requested by various parties including, in the House of Representatives on Monday, Cayo South area representative Julius Espat. Prime Minister Barrow appeared willing to concede the point, stating that after consultation with the social partners it was found best to reverse their prior position.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“I don’t know that it can’t be; I believe though that people would prefer for the inquiry to be concluded. If you say you are doing it now, before that inquiry comes to an end, you’ll be accused of trying to short circuit the result, pre-empt the result and in the current climate, I think we ought to wait. But I am not concealing the fact that as I said, one of the principal reasons for wanting the postponement is the lack of funds; we could not have budgeted for twenty million or even fifteen million to do re-registration this year. I see that the B.N.T.U. had called for the re-registration – I didn’t hear them offering to give up the fifteen million; but that’s perhaps an unnecessary aside. The biggest thing is the lack of funding now – we will clearly have to provide for it for next year, so that it can begin by first of July, 2018. Given that we have conceded that no re-districting can take place until after re-registration; no referendum on the I.C.J. can take place until after re-registration, I believe we have taken the sting out of the attacks and the suggestions that there is something sinister about our wanting a postponement. So I believe that we will get the support for the postponement – I have spoken to the unions, I have spoken to the churches – both the Council of Churches and members of the Evangelical Association, and I think that with those assurances about re-districting and the referendum, we ought to be okay.”
Espat in the House also proposed measures relating to making the voters’ identification card a recognized valid identification akin to the Social Security card and passport.