Permit me the opportunity to address you, Sir, on the following: –
- Grenada Broadcasting Network, To the Point Programme, October 16, 2020
- Register to Vote, MGov: – http://www.gov.gd/register-vote
- Application for Voter’s Registration Card – Infinity (Grenada) Inc., http://www.infinitygrenada.com/voters-registration-card/
- To the Point, October 16, 2020:
A team from the Parliamentary Elections Office led by yourself, Supervisor of Elections, and also comprising of the Systems Administrator and the Outreach and Civic Education Officer, appeared on GBN.s To the Point Programme on Friday, October 16, 2020, addressing principally the issue of Replacement of the Voter ID Card. I write to you, Sir, to seek clarification on a comment that you made during the programme. You advised that your Office was open to engaging persons and that:-
- Persons should come and put out to the public what was said”;
- Persons should not give misinformation; should not put out part of the information to mislead the public.
The delegation (of which I was a part) representing the Grouping of CSOs engaged with your office on two occasions, following which – on both occasions – a public statement was circulated,you were advised that a statement would be issued and that it would be copied to your office. That was done on both occasions.
While this is not a case of “the cap fit so ah draw the string”, the delegation considers it prudent to seek clarification from you, Sir, as to whether any of those statements, issued by the Grouping, contained misinformation or carried only part of the information: –
- Statement of January 13, 2020 re PEO’s engagement/meeting with stakeholders on January 09 re Voter Registration Identification Card expiration date of January 31,
- Statement of September 19, 2020 re Meeting of August 18, 2020: Following the January meeting, the delegation of the Grouping of CSOs requested a follow-up meeting to seek clarification and information on a number of issues which came to its attention following the January meeting. However, due to the “lock down”, the meeting could not take place. When the office re-opened, following the relaxation of lock down measures, the request was repeated and you, as Supervisor, graciously afforded the delegation that opportunity and the meeting took place on August 18, 2020.
The delegation would be very pleased to be informed by your Office of any corrections required in respect of any of the statements. It did advise the Office that the Grouping intended to remain engaged on the issue of the Voter ID and the electoral process in general, given the importance of and the need for sustained public engagement on this matter.
- Government of Grenada, MGov Portal, http://www.gov.gd/register-vote :
On the To the Point Programme of October 16, 2020, a caller to the programme sought clarification from you and your team about a Register to Vote portal on the Government of Grenada’s website, A member of your team advised that the website, www.peogrenada.org is the website controlled by the Parliamentary Elections Office which disseminates information to the public.
- Parliamentary Elections Office “Official” Website, www.peo.org:
As at the date of this letter, I have again visited this “official site” which disseminates information to the public. There is much useful information on the site but it appears to be “on long leave” or “in a coma” since announcing your appointment as the Supervisor of Elections in 2018.
- Recent Information: There is NO recent/updated information on this site:
- Replacement of Expired Voters ID: NO information about the process of replacement of expired Voter IDs. However, press releases, written by the Parliamentary Elections Office, on this matter, appears on:-
- Electronic Voters List: I am still UNABLE to access the electronic list. Following the advice of your officer who suggested it was my computer’s problem, I did go and have my computer checked out.
- Registration: Particular note is paid to the following information put out by the “official” site:-
- Only at Constituency Office: Registration takes place only at the Constituency Office.
- Applicant to Collect Card: Only the applicant can collect his/her Voter’s ID card. The issued receipt given at registration should be produced.
- MGov E-Services Portal, Register to Vote, http://www.gov.gd/register-vote :
On the MGov website, there is a portal, E-Services, Register to Vote. Ongoing into the portal, one notes the following (all emphases are our own):-
- Register to Vote: The page is titled “Register to Vote” and advises that Citizens of Grenada can register to vote.
- Pre-requisites: It lists the Pre-requisites, the documents which have to be submitted to facilitate registration.
- Process Steps: The Process Steps advises as follows: –
- Register yourself online to access the Grenada Services Portal.
- Complete the Registration Form.
- UPLOAD THE FORM along with the digital fingerprints, passport photo, and digital copies of your credentials as applicable, to complete the registrations:- Official Birth Certificate or valid Passport; Marriage certificate where applicable; Citizenship document; Proof of stay in the country (for Commonwealth Citizens); Grenadian parents Birth Certificate for Naturalized Grenadians; Digital copies of your finger print (10 fingers); Passport Photo; Digital Copy of your signature.
- Review and submit.
- Visit to Constituency Office (?): You may be intimated to visit the Constituency Office with the originals for review before receiving the Voters Card.
- Published on November 19, 2019: This information was published on November 19, 2020 and updated on January 11, 2020.
- Contact for Parliamentary Elections Office: It provides the contact information – address, telephone numbers, and e-mail address – for the Parliamentary Elections Office. It does NOT provide a website address.
- MGov Parliamentary Elections Office Portal, https://www.gov.gd/peo/registration
On another MGov portal, https://www.gov.gd/peo/registration , one opens up a page on registration.
The following information is provided. It seems to repeat the information on registration available at the “official” website. (all emphases are our own):-
- Registration: Registration takes place ONLY at the constituency office.
- What do I need? The following are listed:- Official Birth Certificate or valid Passport; Marriage certificate where applicable; Citizenship document; Proof of stay in the country (for Commonwealth Citizens); Grenadian parents Birth Certificate for NATURALIZED Grenadians
- Registration Process: The following information is provided: –
- Visit Constituency Office: Visit the constituency Office and present documents to the Assistant registration Officer; answer relevant questions; Photograph, fingerprint and signature would be taken; Relevant documents are scanned, entered into the system and returned to the applicant; Receipt is printed and given (to be used on return to collect card); Card collected two weeks after;
- Infinity (Grenada) Inc., Application for Voter’s Registration Card – http://www.infinitygrenada.com/voters-registration-card/ :
- Citizenship by Investment Local /Escrow Agent: Infinity (Grenada) Inc. advises that it “is a licensed company which is a Local and Escrow Agent and International Business Services operation, specializing in Immigration Programmes; Post-Immigration Services and Corporate and International Business Services”. All emphases are our own.
- Application for Voter’s Registration ID: This website’s page on Application for Voter’s Registration advises as follows (our emphases):-
- Citizens of Grenada: Grenada Parliamentary Election Office (PEO), issues Voter Registration Cards to citizens of Grenada at its Constituency Offices.
- Requirements: This information mirrors the information provided by https://www.gov.gd/peo/registration , What do I need, and has an additional bit of information – Local telephone number(s) is also a requirement.
- Application Process: The information mirrors the information from the webpage, https://www.gov.gd/peo/registration
- Issuance of Card: The following is advised:- two weeks after completing the process, the Voter Identification Card will be ready; the applicant may be contacted by telephone to collect the card when it is ready; only the applicant can collect his/her Voter ID card which is delivered upon signature; the initial card is free. There is a replacement cost of EC$20.00.
- THE PROCESS: The process is 3-6 months.
- Comment/Observation: According to the information provided, issuance of Voter Card takes a period of two weeks from initial application. What process is taking 3-6 months? That must be the process of purchasing citizenship.
- Portal Management: According to the site, MGov Grenada, “the content of this Portal is managed centrally by the Information & Communications Technology Team under the Ministry Of National Security, Public Administration, Home Affairs, Information & Communications Technology” . This suggest therefore that the Information & Communications Technology Team manages the content of both portals – http://www.gov.gd/register-vote and https://www.gov.gd/peo/registration .
- Relationship between Official Website and MGov Portals: What is the relationship between the “official website” team and the team managing the MGov portals?
- Independence of Office of Supervisor of Elections: Given that the Office of the Supervisor of Elections is a constitutionally, independent office, why is there not a LINK on the MGov site to the independent “official” site?
- Register to Vote Page: Why is there a page on Register to Vote and why is the Ministry managing the content?
- WHO is this page targetting? Is this page targetting those persons who have BOUGHT their citizenship under Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Programme?
- Upload Information vs. Visit Constituency Office: This site invites one to UPLOAD information. The PEO “official” site states that one must VISIT the constituency office to present documents and answer relevant questions.
- Collection of Voters ID: The PEO “official” website states clearly that it is the applicant who must collect the issued Voters ID. The MGov Register to Vote portal advises that the applicant MAY be “intimated” to visit the office with original documents but it is unclear about the collection of cards.
- Representation of the People Act/Provisions for Online Registration:
- Provisions of the RPA: The delegation is unaware of any provisions in the Representation of the People Act which provides for ONLINE registration of voters. Neither does the PEO “official” website “which disseminates information to the public” provide any such information. It specifically states that an applicant must visit the office.
- Legal: Is this process that is being promoted by the Register to Vote portal legal?
- Processing of Applications: Is the Parliamentary Elections Office processing these applications via the MGov portal? Or is there a parallel system processing these applications?
- Relationship with Infinity Inc./Citizenship by Investment Agent: What is the relationship between the Parliamentary Elections Office and Infinity Inc. re applications for Voter’s ID of persons who have bought their citizenship under the CBI programme.
- Is the Integrity of Electoral Process Threatened?
- This information – of which the delegation has only very recently become aware via the various websites – suggest that we must to ask very loudly whether there is a possible HIJACKING of the electoral process – particularly by those persons who have BOUGHT their citizenship – is being facilitated.
- Going back to the first Referendum in 2016, every time representatives of the Grouping have broached the issue of the eligibility of these persons to be registered, we have been unable to obtain any direct answers from the staff of the Parliamentary Elections Office.
- Clarity from the PEO: Clarity is required from the Parliamentary Elections Office on the websites and the issues raised. We look forward to receiving response/information in respect of the observations and queries offered.
Sandra C A Ferguson, Grouping of Civil Society Organisations