Barbudans appear to be encountering difficulty as they try to obtain replacement voter-ID cards. According to reports, they are being told they can get new cards only on mainland Antigua.
This supposedly has upset a number of residents on the sister-island, including former Barbudan Senator Linton Thomas, who says he has experienced this frustration firsthand.
Accordingly, he is adamant that Barbudans must be able to get replacement cards at their own registration unit, noting that it will be costly to travel to Antigua just to collect a card.
Thomas swears that he will not be going that route.
Thomas notes that he completed the process for his voter-ID card, including taking the photograph, in Barbuda. Therefore, he cannot understand why he is not able to obtain the replacement card in the same fashion.
Come Election Day, Thomas says, he is going to cast his ballot, and no one will stop him from exercising his franchise.
Meanwhile, Ian Hughes, the Human Resource and Training Officer at the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC), explains why Barbudans have to travel to Antigua for a replacement card.
Hughes says that another procedure is in place for obtaining a replacement voter ID – other than travelling to Antigua.
He explains that the Registration Officer will log the report of the lost, stolen or misplaced card, and this will be sent to the head office on Queen Elizabeth Highway.
Once a request is made for a certain number of replacement cards, then an Administration Officer – who has the appropriate clearance – will journey to the sister-island to effect the procedures required for replacements to be issued.
He notes that the Commission does everything in its power to ensure that persons are not disenfranchised.
Other than Thomas’ complaint, Hughes says, ABEC has not received any other reports coming out of Barbuda.
Accordingly, he suggests that Thomas go to see Maulvain George, Barbuda’s Registration Officer, and have his report logged, so that the necessary procedures can be followed and his card replaced.
Cards are printed in batches on Mondays and Fridays, Hughes says.