|More time for Belonger, elector registration||| Print ||
|Written by Richard Greenfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Thursday, 17 May 2012 10:42|
After four weeks of registration, only 2,861 people have signed up to receive Belonger cards and register to vote, or about 40 percent of the 6,964 people who were registered to vote in the last election.
To make it easier to register, the Elections Office and the Ministry of Border Control and Labour have extended times to register on all islands until the deadline of June 29.
North Caicos, South Caicos
Salt Cay, Middle Caicos
“I am greatly encouraged by the current level of registration, which is already around 40 percent of the total from the total of the 2007 election, with around six weeks left until the registration deadline,” said ministry Permanent Secretary Clara Gardiner.
“That said, I would encourage everyone who can to consider their civic duty and come out and register. By doing so they cannot only take advantage of this time limited free status card offer but also make sure that they can take advantage of all of the other privileges that being a Turks and Caicos Islander proffers.”
Those numbers of people registered as of May 15 was:
Since early 2011 the ministry has sought a way to confirm Belonger (Turks and Caicos Islander) status with the right to vote because a secure official document did not exist for Belongers by birth or descent. The ministry cited the risk of security and fraud caused by a variety of unsecure documents such as wet stamps and letters that were not provided for by statute.
With the implementation of a photo identification card proving status, use of other forms of documentation will be phased out, Gardiner said.
Obtaining a Belonger card is currently free, but one or more original unlaminated birth certificates are required for registration. For those who do not have birth certificates, the $40 fee for obtaining birth certificates has been reduced to $20 until June 29.
After June 29, the birth certificate fee will return to $40, and a fee that has not yet been determined will be charged for Belonger cards, Gardiner said.
Members of the two political parties are offering assistance to people who are having trouble understanding the process and documents needed to register.
E. Jay Saunders, a former candidate for leader of the Progressive National Party, has created an online tool to help navigate the process at www.surveymonkey.com/s/tcivoterregistration.
“This online tool was developed to help empower the citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands by allowing them to easily figure out if they qualify to vote in the upcoming TCI general elections and what documents they require to register,” Saunders says.
Sean Astwood, a former deputy leader of the People’s Democratic Movement, has announced that his party’s office on Providenciales will be open through June 29 to help people with registration.
“Our branches in the other islands have already begun actively assisting persons with queries about the process,” Astwood said.
For further information, visit the government’s website at www.gov.tc.
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