Yearwood: A tax to vote

Democratic Labour Party president Dr Ronnie Yearwood says the current administration has effectively introduced a tax in order to vote.

On Sunday night during the St Philip South branch meeting at Clara’s Hideaway in Four Roads, Yearwood shared his views on the “botched” digital Trident Identification (ID) card project.

“By attaching a cost to the ID project, you are actually introducing a tax to vote. Anybody ever think about it that way?” he asked with a wry smile to the audience.

“You know you have actually introduced a tax to vote, because your ID is connected to what?” he prompted. “Voting”.

“And if you [aren’t] able to pay to get an ID. Therefore you cannot do what?” he asked.

“Vote”, was the response.

A puzzled Yearwood asked how that could be correct “in modern Barbados”.

He noted how the ID card project started online, then Barbadians were told they had to go to the office because what was done online did not work. Bajans living overseas could not get it and soon it will have to be paid for.

He acknowledged that under the ID Management Act, the Commission could change the cost schedule, but it was never published to inform the public.

The digital ID cards are free at the moment, but come July 1, anyone who applies will have to pay $60 and the old laminated cards will no longer be valid. Those were previously issued free of cost.

The rollout of the project has been hit by several snags and the original deadline was extended from March 30. Some people found it more convenient to go to the office after struggling with the online component which was taken offline at one point. Digital signatures did not reproduce well at printing and then the suppliers ran out of cards.  (SAT)