Saturday, March 14, 2009

Two Critical Steps We Need to Take... Yesterday!

By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.

There are many many things that the UPP government need to do... needed to do... have not done... that still needs to be done!

Two of the most critical are the establishment of a national I.D. card and the naming of streets and alleys along with the numbering of each house.

The national I.D. card should be one that is linked to an individual's passport, driver's license, social security card, medical benefit card and their election I.D. card. This of course would be a super I.D. card for each individual who is eligible to vote. The card would also identify where the individual lives.

The naming of streets and alleys is probably the most critical of all the things that our new government needs to implement... post haste! Let's take a look at Greenbay and Gray's Farm. Anyone can say that they live in Perry's Bay. There are no named streets down there. None.

"So you say you live at Perry's Bay? Where exactly?"

"Me live down the alley, walk by the bayside, turn left by Miss Norma... then go between there by Bush and the little green house behind the gray house. And I live there... Its my girl friend's house. My old lady live round the corner, down there by the gutter! Just pass where ' Ras Jess I' rest!"

Did you understand that? Do you think you can find that person?

Still in Gray's Farm: Someone says that they live 'off Christian Street'. Off Christian Street? "Yes... You go up Christian Street, pass the green house on the right... then turn into the alley. When you go into the alley, look for the house with the antenna... then turn right there and go to the blue house with the red drum outside."

One thousand persons can give you any off the addresses above and you cannot challenge them. Because at this time, these are legitimate so-called 'addresses'. If you go looking for them... even if they really live somewhere in that area... you probably won't find them.

So it is critical... it is imperative that we name every street and every alley... every highway and byway. Then we need to number every residence, every apartment and every rented room! Then we need to make those addresses the official residence of addresses of every individual in this country.

When people go to register for their super National ID card, they would have to provide an ID like a driver's license that already has their name and address on it. They would also have to provide additional proof... like a stamped letter addressed to them... a letter which has obviously been already delivered to them. This would take the form of a bill (electricity, water, etc.), or a copy of a letter from their bank that they have received.

These are two critical things that would go a long way to prevent the ALP or any other party from manipulating the electoral system in Antigua and Barbuda! We need to make these changes now... yesterday!