The Parliamentary Elections Office (PEO) says all of the estimated 80, 000 registered voters will have to be re-issued with new voter identification cards as of February 1 this year, because of a hiccup within the new software that had been designed for Grenada’s fingerprint electronic system.
The system came into effect in 2012 and was developed by the Canadian company 3M, which since 2015 had been sold and no longer provides support service to the PEO.
The new company owners allowed the PEO to continue using the software but all technical support service was outsourced to a local ICT solution company.
The PEO said that all ID cards issued from 2012 will automatically expire on January 31 this year and though the problem had been identified months ago, the legal review and guidance have not identified a specific legal solution.
However, proposals have been submitted to the Attorney General Chambers for consideration.
PEO acting Supervisor, Elvis Morain, dismissed suggestions that the cards were originally issued for 10 years, noting that the evidence tells a different story because 2012 to 2020 is not a 10 year period.
“The expiry date on the card is the end of January 2020,” he told reporters, adding that the law which guides his office is the People’s Representations Act and with all its various amendments over the years, there were no provisions made regarding expiry cards.
Morain said that as a result, the re-issuing of cards are being treated as if cards were damaged, lost or defaced and a new one is being requested from each registered person.
“As we peruse the Act, we recognised also that the act does not make provision for expiry cards,” he said while pointing out that the areas under which someone can be re-issued a card.
“It speaks to the defacing of a card, a damaged card or a lost card. There is a section though which speaks to Police, so if you cease to become a police officer you have to be incorporated into the main general registration and a new card is re-issued,” Morain said.
Morain said that all cards will be re-issued free of cost and will only be issued be re-issued to persons who comply with the pre-requisite to be an eligible registered voter.
“All of the procedures that were followed when somebody was getting registered will be applied,” said Michael Millette, System Administrator at the PEO.
“Persons must use a birth certificate, a passport and other requisites…The same process allows for the renewal of the cards,” he said while explaining that process is mandatory as part of the security confirmation features that will match existing information within the system.
The PEO believes that an added feature is the opportunity for registered voters to update personal information including legal changes to names and constituencies.