Sometime after June 1 this year, Barbadians will be issued with new, more secure National Identification Cards that they will eventually be able to use like a debit card to access pensions and other benefits from the National Insurance Department. Chairman of the Electoral & Boundaries Commission, Owen Estwick, made the disclosure today during an interview with Barbados TODAY about the new smart card which will also be more durable than the plastic ID cards currently in use.
“The new card can serve many purposes. The normal thing is for someone to ask you to produce your identification card and you pull it out and show it to cash a cheque. To a large extent that is all the old card can do. The new smart card will be more comprehensive than the present one,” he explained.
“In fact, we had intended that one or two Government agencies, like the Transport Board, could contemplate using the new card.
“For example, a bus driver who does not want to have any cash to risk being ‘stuck up’ while travelling through a minor road to drop of people in the night; hopefully, at some future date the smart card could be used. If passengers have access to a piece of equipment on the buses, a passenger could pull his ID card out and swipe it. This would need a special machine to capture the revenue the board is being earned and debit the passenger’s account.”
However, Estwick explained, that aspect of the card had not been finalised.
Asked whether the old ID cards will be withdrawn with the issuing of the new Smart Card, Estwick said: “My proposal is that you do not create confusion by having both cards in circulation . . . . I would like to think that my recommendation will be accepted by the Prime Minister. When the new card is being launched, an opportunity will be given to all Barbadians to obtain the new card. They will not be able to confuse the election process by having the old identification card as an alternative to the new smart card. When the new smart card comes in the old card is dead.”
Commenting on the security of the old identification card, Estwick said the incidence of persons trying to misuse those was “sufficiently grave to justify” an upgrade.
He said it was therefore important that all nationals to cooperate with the Electoral & Boundaries Commission when the project comes on stream.