Today, Monday 31 March, a public holiday, groups of LALIT members went and handed over a “Notice” (copy below) to officials working in the Government “Conversion Centres” which are issuing the new compulsory biometric ID cards, reminding them that the Courts have not yet statuted on the constitutionality of the System being imposed.
This notice is being formally addressed to you as an official involved in the issue of the new compulsory biometric ID cards, either for the private company Valdus, or for any other private company involved in ID Card “Conversion”, or to you as a civil servant involved in this work:
Bearing in mind that you may not be aware
- that there are three different Supreme Court Cases challenging the legality, and even the Constitutionality, of the new compulsory biometric Identity Cards and the data-base they are linked to, which may both be declared unconstitutional, as indeed they have already been in other countries,
- that you are encouraging people who are or may themselves be unaware of the possible illegality or anti-constitutionality of the new ID Card System, to take out these new Cards when the old ones are perfectly legal until 15 September, 2014,
- of the long struggles of both Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, two leading figures in freedom struggles of the last 100 years, against such “passes” and against thumb-printing of the entire population of innocent people,
- that the obligation, under the new ID Card laws, for each citizen to present this ID Card to Police Officers changes the balance-of-forces against ordinary citizens, who will be at the mercy of officers of the State, just in order to circulate in the country and to access ordinary facilities,
- that this new centralized data-base containing private information on all Mauritian citizens, can later, by a simple Regulation, include “any other particulars” on individual citizens, and that this data is exposed to leakage into the hands of political leaders like any Prime Minister, into the Police’s hands, and into the hands of the secret services of foreign States, and
- that a centralized fingerprint data-bank can easily change the presumption of innocence, which is the sacred principle of our criminal justice system,
And bearing in mind that you may be unaware
- that in Britain in 2010, the elected Government destroyed its new biometric ID card data-base and ID Cards because the people of Britain voted to get them destroyed, even though the ID Cards were not even compulsory there; people opposed and got rid of the biometric cards introduced by Prime Ministers Blair and Brown because of their intrusion into privacy, infringement of fundamental human rights and ongoing crippling money-cost to the people,
- that, inter alia, the people of Australia, too, rejected biometric ID Cards, and the people of the United States of America rejected the “Smart Cards” George Bush had introduced, and
We remind you
- that you ought not be involved in giving any misleading information to citizens as to the need or legal obligation for the new ID card before 15 September, 2014 and ought to avoid bringing to bear any pressure on citizens of the country, through any words or deeds, for them to be involved in committing an act which may turn out to be illegal or anti-constitutional,
- that you should ensure that the public is informed that the new compulsory ID Cards may be found by the Supreme Court to be illegal or un-Constitutional, and may eventually be destroyed,
And that payment to the private companies involved in “Converting” to the new biometric cards is being made “on a card basis”, which means that cards issued before the legality and constitutionality of the project is decided are an unnecessary waste of public funds.
For LALIT, 153 Main Road, GRNW, Port Louis 208 5551 firstname.lastname@example.org This, 30 March, 2014.