The People’s National Congress (PNC) has stated its official position on the proposed compilation of a new voters register ahead of the 2020 elections.
According to the party, it supports the compilation of a new register as against upgrading the current one.
In a statement issued by its Director of Communication,
Emmanuel Wilson Jnr., PNC says “…it is prudent to get a new machine and that, coupled with the creation of the new regions, we believe a compilation of a new voters register is in order.
However, PNC says some individuals who have been speaking on the matter and purporting to demonstrate against the compilation of the new register did not do so own its behalf.
According to the statement,
“Firstly, we admit that the past week has brought about some unfortunate developments which has, to an extent brought the image of the PNC into ridicule.”
It added that “This is in line with a wrong impression that was created in the public space that the PNC as a party has a divided front when it comes to its position on the proposed new voters register.”
“The party admits that some individual members have attempted to create a false impression that they are communicating the official position of the party on this matter, however, we want to put on record that in as far as this subject matter is concerned , such persons acted in their private capacities and their positions did not represent that of the PNC, (demonstrations, press conferences etc.).”
“Again, it must be placed on record that the official position of the PNC on this matter has never been communicated and as such, the rational for this media statement, is to make known the party’s official position.”
“Secondly the PNC has studied thoroughly the reasons backing the decision to compile a new voters register as espoused by the EC in its Tuesday, December 31, 2019 press conference. The PNC states that all of the reasons given by the EC falls under two categories,” the statement noted.
“These are that;
- the current register is bloated
- the BVD is Obsolete
- Bloated register
On the issue of the current voters register purportedly being bloated, the EC failed to convince the PNC as to the grounds for which such argument is being made.”
“The PNC is of the position however that should we even acknowledge without admitting that the EC’s assertion is right, the best approach in dealing with a bloated register should not be to discard it and go in for a totally new register.”
“2 Obsolete BVD
On the issue of the current Biometric Verification Device (BVD) being obsolete, the PNC acknowledge that two sub-issues were raised by the EC being that the country is confronted with either to upgrade the machine or to purchase a new one, and these were considered in the light of
- financial cost to the state,
- the BVM failing to verify, hence the need to resort to a manual verification in some instances.
On the first issue, an independent assessment of the financial cost has been made by the PNC and we posit that it will make economic sense and will be a prudent way to use the tax payers money should the EC acquire a new BVD other than upgrading the current one.”
“However, the PNC is not convinced by the reasons given by the EC regarding the manual verification. The PNC would want to state that since the EC recorded only 0.64% of voters as having experienced such a challenge in the recently ended DLE, we project that less than 2% will experience such a challenge in the general election. In any case, these were not disenfranchised, as manual verification is legitimate. That notwithstanding, it will be better to avoid an unforeseen circumstance rather than waiting for avoidable instances.”
“Thirdly, the PNC’s position is that a new register should be compiled only if the process will be within the time frame of the EC’s calendar so as not to affect the 2020 general elections.”
By Melvin Tarlue