'It wasn't me', says Anthony Hylton
Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Anthony Hylton, says it was permanent secretary Vivian Brown and not him who signed off on the implementation of a search registry that discloses the private information of persons to anyone.
Last week, Hylton was forced to order the suspension of the registry after a Gleaner report that private information can be accessed by anyone from the website of the National Security Interests Registry.
The registry was created under the Securities Interest in Personal Property law which was passed in the Parliament in 2013 to expand the list of things that can be used by Jamaicans to obtain loans.
Hylton says only financial institutions should have been able to access the private information including name, address and debts.
However, Speaking on Nationwide Radio this morning, Hylton said he did not know, neither did he authorise that the website be opened to the public when it was launched in January last year.
Meanwhile, Hylton is insisting that the design of the website and not the legislation is the cause of the privacy concerns.
Judith Ramlogan, chief executive officer of the Office of the Registrar of Companies, where the registry is operated, says the ability to access people's credit data was not unusual.
However, attorney-at-law Peter Champagnie believes the regulation which gives rise to the registry could be in breach of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedom.
The regulations are yet to go before the Parliament for scrutiny and approval.
Meanwhile, university professor Hopeton Dunn says the rush to pass the law to meet an International Monetary Fund deadline may have caused the late discovery.
He says the legislation needs to go back to the Parliament for revision.