Barbadians will not have to pay for the Trident Identification card if it is being issued for the first time.
Attorney General Dale Marshall sought to clear the air on the issue after a senior officer at the Electoral and Boundaries Commission said cards would cost $60 after June 30.
Payment would only be required if a previously issued Trident ID card was being replaced.
“Let me make it clear to the Barbadian Public: The Government of Barbados will not in any circumstances be charging any person who is entitled to receive an ID card, a single cent for the first issue of that card. This stance runs throughout the Barbados Identity Management Act which sets out in clear terms in section 10 that the first issue of an ID card is free of charge. Replacement cards is dealt with by Section 13 of the Act which provides that where the NEW ID card is to be replaced, that there is a $60.00 fee,” Marshall said in a media release on Wednesday.
The Attorney General said while there was provision for a fee after the transition period, Government dealt with this by extending this time.
“This Act came into force on March 3rd, 2021, so the one-year period expired on May 2nd, 2022. We have since then issued several extensions of the transitional period and are about to extend the period yet again,” Marshall explained.
“So we are currently one year and three months past the first anniversary of the commencement of the Act, at which time persons were expecting to be made to pay for ID cards, and NOT A SINGLE Barbadian has been charged for an ID card. What is clear is that what the DLP Leader has been stating as a fact, is very far from accurate. I repeat that not a single person has been charged for the new Trident ID card, nor will they be for the first issued card!
“A review of section 34(8) of the statute has been done. It is clear that the section is in conflict with the intention of the Act, and we have applied common sense to long ago decide that the spirit of the Act will be followed, and that no person will be charged for their first issue of the new ID card.”
Marshall also hit out at president of the Democratic Labour Party, Dr Ronnie Yearwood, who at a St Philip South branch meeting last Sunday, said the current administration had introduced a tax to vote by applying a fee to the card project.
“The fact that the Leader of the Democratic Labour Party continues to conflate the holding of an ID card with the right to vote, is a clear indication that he paid little attention to the law relating to elections in his single foray into elective politics,” Marshall pointed out.
“What is worse is that none of the experienced heads in that party appear either willing or able to restrain him or call him back from making these ridiculous and inaccurate statements. He has repeated the folly when he sought to suggest that we are in effect making Barbadians pay for the right to vote; a tax, he called it.
“How many thousands of Barbadians walked into voting booths, election after election, and voted upon the production of passports or drivers licences? Proof of identity is what is required to vote and this is not limited to the production of a Barbados ID Card.”
As of June 14, of the 264 818 registered voters, 202 140 people have received their new Trident ID Card and none were charged, Marshall added. (PR/SAT)