BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 03, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Attorney General and Minister responsible for the Electoral Office, the Honourable Vincent Byron, said that the necessary measures are being put in place to ensure that the processing of National Identification cards at the Electoral Office, as part of the voter registration process, can resume this month.
Minister Byron’s remarks, made during the most recent prime minister’s press conference on Wednesday, May 29, were based on information provided in a comprehensive report of the computerized system at the Electoral Office presented by the Director of Technology, Amicia Mussenden. The report stated that the challenge currently being experienced at the office began in January 2019, when there was an inability to print the National ID card.
“She states that after a diagnostics by Fujitsu, it was discovered that the security dongles used for printing cards were exhausted and all security impressions and card printing were therefore disabled. When the system was first started there were some four dongles, each with 25,000 impressions but these have now expired,” the minister outlined.
Fujitsu is the same international computer firm that had installed the existing computer equipment at the Electoral Office in 2007.
Three of the four security dongles required for the operation of the system arrived on island on Wednesday, May 29, while the fourth was delivered to Fujitsu for them to integrate the necessary security features.
“The integration process is expected to take about two weeks to complete. Once this process is completed, the Electoral Office will be able to proceed with software upgrades and deploying them on the new equipment that are already in their possession,” the minister added.
AG Byron indicated that an upgrade of the application software at the Electoral Office was also necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the equipment. This upgrade was completed on April 25, 2019.
“This application upgrade was designed to work on the latest version of the Windows server and SQL database server. As the version of the software server in use at the Electoral Office is way out of date, this necessitated that the office procure a Windows server 2019 and SQL server 2017. The server is in the process of being updated to allow for the installation of server side civil ID application,” Minister Byron explained.
Notwithstanding, the Honourable Attorney General assured the public that the registration of voters continues at the Electoral Office during normal business hours.
In fact, it was revealed in a national address by then Acting Prime Minister, the Honourable Shawn Richards on Thursday, May 23, that between January and March 2019, some 514 persons were registered, which represents a 270% increase over the 191 persons registered at the same time last year. For April, another 142 persons were enrolled bringing the total to 656 persons registered so far for the year. A total of 174 transfers were also recorded since January.
Furthermore, Minister Byron reminded citizens and residents that they would still be eligible to vote in an election once registered and can present a proper Government issued ID.
“You can also use a Government issued passport, a driver’s license or a Social Security card as the same identification is you were to go to a polling station and vote. So [not having a National ID card] does not deny any citizen the opportunity for participating in any form of elections,” said Minister Byron.