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DH | Over 3,900 deregistered in Civil Registry clean-up

HomeLandenSint MaartenDH | Over 3,900 deregistered in Civil Registry clean-up

PHILIPSBURG–More than 3,900 persons of varying nationalities were deregistered from the Civil Registry as part of a clean-up project which was identified as necessary after research in 2010 unearthed the need for it.

    The research showed, amongst other things, that errors were contained in the system, some persons registered were not residing in the country, and documents were missing from files. There were more than 100 persons who had passed away sometime back who were still in the system as being alive. The system also showed that some persons no longer had valid legal residence for the country. In some cases, there was no activity for years from some person, in some instances since 1997 when a digital system was introduced and some persons had not updated their passports in years also.

    The actual removal of persons from the registry, which began in 2021, was done after no responses were received from persons who were sent two letters from the Civil Registry.

    The information about the clean-up process was provided by Head of the Civil Registry Department Kathy Snijders during the live Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday. Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs invited Snijders to the briefing to provide clarity on concerns surrounding the deregistration process.

    Jacobs said the clean-up process did not start during the election season or in preparation for elections, recapping that she had been reminding persons since she took office to update their addresses at the Civil Registry. She said some persons may have been erroneously deregistered in the sense that the Civil Registry Department might not have been able to contact them. She stressed that this does not mean that persons cannot be re-registered to vote.

    Snijders explained that the process began after October 2010, following research which identified errors. She said a summary of works that had to be done was issued and the department had to start a clean-up project of its system. Documents that were needed were requested via letters. These include breeder documents such as birth certificates, marriage and death certificates.

    Those who were deregistered were sent two letters, which had to be responded to and the primary reason why persons were deregistered is because they did not receive the letters. She said many of the persons no longer live at the same address. She stressed that letters were not just sent to Dutch nationals, but to everyone whom it was determined needed one. If no response was received after 4 weeks the person is deregistered.

    The first part of the deregistration began on September 1, 2021 with letters being sent out and after six weeks a second letter was issued. “Up to now, we deregistered 3,900 plus persons from the system. That is based on the [clean-up – Ed.] project,” explained Snijders. “Of course, again it’s not all Dutch nationals,” she stressed.

    She explained that the department does not have a list of students living abroad and as such letters are not sent to persons who are of college age estimated to be between the ages of 18 to 25.

    The clean-up process is still ongoing. “We did not stop when we closed the registry for voting – it’s not part of the voting system, it’s a part of the Civil Registry. The voting registry is a part of our registry so not because there is an election coming now we will stop our project. The project is an ongoing project,” she said.

    A person needs to be “sleeping” at an address for eight months out of a year, to be considered as living there.

    Persons who were deregistered and still living in St. Maarten have until this Friday to petition the court to be added to the voters register. Snijders said there were about eight letters to this effect up to yesterday’s press conference and more were being received. She explained that for cases where the department noticed that it erroneously deregistered a person, the department will petition the court itself. Other persons can petition the court themselves. She said some of the petitions to the court are from persons who recently obtained the Dutch nationality and want to be added to the voters register.
Bron: Daily Herald

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