The Dominica government has allocated 1.6 million dollars to the Electoral Commission to facilitate national identification cards for citizens.
This was announced by the Minister for Finance, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit during a town hall meeting at the Baracoon Building in Roseau on Thursday 16 March 2016.
“The Cabinet has approved an amount, approximate to 1.6 million dollars to the Electoral Office for the design and development of a biometric ID management system to provide for national ID cards,” Mr Skerrit said.
“They [Electoral Commission] have already placed the order with a company but the government has made that money available as a step towards ensuring that everybody could have an ID by the next election that will be held in Dominica,” he added.
The Prime Minister also clarified claims that economic citizens will come to Dominica to vote in the next general election due in 2019.
“Our laws are very clear; there is a qualification process for anybody to register to vote in Dominica; you have to live in Dominica for a period of time,” he said.
“They are giving people the impression that the people, who have now become citizens and residents elsewhere, on Election Day, will come and vote in Dominica. This cannot happen,” the Prime Minister continued.
He dismissed this claim as “an attempt to mislead our people and get them to have a different view of the government and the government’s efforts towards assisting the country”.
Mr Skerrit added that the country’s laws provide for a qualification process to be able to vote in the elections, “and if you become a citizen; whether by birth, or through naturalization, or through the CBI program, if you are not resident in Dominica for a period of time, you cannot vote in Dominica”.
He however noted that Dominica’s laws allow for Commonwealth citizens to vote in the general elections.
“So if you are from Zimbabwe or South Africa and you’re resident here for a period of time, you can register and you can vote. Our laws make provisions for that,” Mr Skerrit said.