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Feb 22, 2019

ICJ Referendum Will Not Be Delayed, Says PM Barrow

The People’s United Party along with several other political and activist groups has been calling on the government to delay the April tenth I.C.J. referendum. There are numerous complaints from several quarters of the public about the ongoing I.C.J. education campaign. The view is that the campaign is being poorly executed, leaving many without the facts of the case. The P.U.P. is also arguing that the current education campaign being conducted by the government is disorganized, under-financed and not sufficiently balanced. The Opposition has also been complaining that its supporters from all districts have been facing unnecessary challenges when they visit the Vital Statistics Unit to obtain a birth certificate in order to re-register to vote. P.M. Dean Barrow remains resolute that the referendum will be held as planned, on April tenth which is forty days away from tonight.

 

Reporter 

“Would you entertain the delay of the referendum for these reasons?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“No sir, No Sir. For no reasons.”


Reporter 

“For none?”

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“No Sir.”

 

Reporter

“Not even that Vital Stats has a backlog of documents that haven’t been given to people so that they can register and also it has been said in some quarters that the education campaign hasn’t reached the grassroots level to where they can understand fully the facts. So, that when the referendum day does come, they can vote their conscious.”

 

Dean Barrow 

“But I am making the point to you that I am not going to dismiss anybodies’ arguments and contentions. You know there is a degree of politics that has come into this thing; which I regret. But I don’t want to play that particular game. So I won’t simply say to heck with these complaints and allegations. But on a serious note, how long have we not known that this thing is to take place on April tenth. With respect to the Vital Statistics, there have been problems with that institution. I know that the Attorney General has made a complete change of personnel, both at the top and down. People that he got out of the system had their advocates in Cabinet who complained bitterly but Michael Peyrefitte understands that you don’t play games with Vital Stats, especially at a time like this. So I am satisfied that certainly right now and until- when is the cut off, March twelfth,  you can get anything out of Vital Stats that you need to entitle you to be registered. So, that is not an issue. Before there was a complaint about records that are half torn, that you fix. Anything if it didn’t make its way on to the computer, but some little, he said that you fix. But what do you want me to do when there is no record at all of somebody. Mother did not register them, or something went wrong. You asked them to bring a baptismal certificate, you ask them to bring a teacher and they can’t provide anybody because of their advance age. The man said what do you want me to do. I can’t just give them a birth certificate. It is a huge human problem. But what do we do? And as to the grassroots campaign, as to the campaign not reaching grassroots people I don’t think we want to insult the intelligence of grassroots people. I think there has been more than enough material out there for them to understand. And I think they are understanding. So, I am in no doubt that we are poised and ready to go and nothing short of a natural disaster ought to detain the holding of that referendum.”

 

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