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2005 Enumeration Process Gets Underway

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - A public awareness campaign for the upcoming house to house enumeration exercise has been launched. The campaign, expected to run for up to five months, is being implemented by the Electoral Commission, with the slogan “Now I Can.” It will incorporate the use of electronic and print media, signage like billboards and posters as well as town and village community sensitization meetings.

Chief Elections Officer Carson Raggie says amidst all the political noise, the education campaign is critical in ensuring that accurate information is disseminated, concerning the new verification exercise expected to begin on November 1st, 2005. “Our message is that it is important to verify the existing data in our electoral register in order to reflect the current registration due to population shifts,” says Raggie.

He want on, “That this verification process also informs the revision of the electoral register and that the national and electoral registers are not mere documents buts lists where every living contributing St. Lucian are to be accounted for, so that their rights can be incorporated in the process of social planning.” The process will also lead to the issuance of a new, free of charge, identification card, one embedded with additional security features to combat identify theft.

The card holder according to Electoral Commission officials will be better able to express basic rights and freedoms like the ability to vote and travel, and access health care under the Universal Health Care programme, soon to come on stream in Saint Lucia. Some 440 persons, comprising 17 registration officers, 3 coordinators, 140 enumerators and 280 scrutineers, based on the recent amendment to the House of Assembly Elections Act, have undergone specialized training to conduct a fair and impartial island wide exercise.

Electoral Commission member Stephen Julian says, “This activity is largely a verification exercise and not a re-registration in the sense that all persons will be re-registered. In fact, the majority of persons are already registered. This activity is essentially to verify the residence of existing registrants and correct their registrations accordingly, so as to ensure that persons are dully registered in regard to their place of residence within an electoral district.”

The Commission has issued a special appeal urging members of the public to capitalise on this service in order to become registered. An overall budget of $3.2 million has been allocated toward the project.

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