Saturday, 16 February 2013 02:30
By caribarena news
Antigua St. John's - Antigua and Barbuda will see the street naming and house numbering system in place in time for the 2014 general elections.
The move, which is poised to simplify and make smoother the voter registration process, is a US$1.6 million local government initiative that has been underway since 2009.
Local Government Officer Carole Lincoln-Frederick told Caribarena that while her office continues to manage the street naming activities, the Survey Department has employed a computerized system that will automatically determine the house numbering process.
All this is set for completion sometime in August of this year, where individuals in Antigua and Barbuda will then be required to list their physical addresses by identifying three things – their house number, the street name and the name of the parish.
The project is said to only now be gaining momentum since its genesis almost four years ago, due to what the officer describes as public misunderstandings and “political divide”.
As it stands, new maps of Antigua and Barbuda have been printed to include street names.
“We are trying to mark the areas where the (street) signs are supposed to be planted. They have to be visual, and at least three feet away from the curb of the road,” Lincoln-Frederick said.
The signs are going to be seven feet in height above ground and an additional three feet under ground.
The Development Control Authority (DCA) will be working along with Survey Department to ensure that the signs are placed in the right areas and the names of the signs coordinate with what is on the map.
Officer Lincoln-Frederick Community said during the street-sign placement process her office will use as many community residents as possible. “Its not a department thing, it is a people thing. And we want to get them involved as much as possible.
“The Plan remains on stream to have the project completed by the outlined deadline,” she said.
Regarding the voter registration aspect of the initiative, the local government officer pointed out that what her office proposes to do is have people understand the importance of having a physical address and a street name to improve the electoral process.
She said in the unlikely event that the street signs were not all erected in time for the election process, her office would have maps placed at strategic locations throughout the twin-island state with accurate street names listed.
On January 21, 2013, the Ministry of Social Transformation presented the ‘Constructing an Address System to Strengthen the Technical Capabilities of the Registration Process in Antigua and Barbuda’ proposal estimating the street naming exercise, which began in November, to run for nine months ending in August.
Some 2000 streets are to be named at a cost of $400 per street with each street requiring two signs, which equates to US$1,645,804.
“The creation of an address database will allow the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to map all structures and all residents on the two islands. In addition to the improvements in government services, the database will be an asset for crucial industries such as tourism, agriculture and others”.
“Such a tool will also allow the electoral commission to map the distribution of potential electors to better organize the re-registration process that is planned for early 2013. The ability to link registered voters with exact addresses will strengthen oversight over voter registration, a fundamental component of a transparent electoral process,” the proposal read.
It was also pointed out that ultimately, the creation of the address infrastructure will lead to a voter’s list that reflects a more accurate geographic distribution of the electorate, which in turn confers greater legitimacy to the electoral process.