Wed | Nov 21, 2018

George Davis | NIDS - hysteria and hubris

Published:Tuesday | December 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Oh, what a country we live in when one party masquerades as the only one capable when in government of passing 'perfect legislation' even as it sneers and acts all superior and haughty, claiming that any law passed by the other party is on the same level as rubbish.

Sitting and watching this debate rage over the proposed National Identification System (NIDS), I have to catch myself and prevent my thinking from being bent into accepting that the PNP is the only party that cares for Jamaica and that the crafting of the NIDS bill exposes the JLP administration as leaches and vermin hell-bent on destroying this country and its people.

To see the almost criminal misinformation of people by those who can only mislead and blindside because they understand is to get a full serving of why this country continues to be beset by a chronic lack of buy-in for crucial government policy that a responsible citizenry must demonstrate in order for problems to be solved as per prescription.

It is not enough for some to say NIDS is the Mark of the Beast, or that it's the latest example of the Government selling out to foreign interests. It seems that no effort is being spared to make Andrew Holness and his Government look like modern-day pirates of the Caribbean as evidenced by the neat splicing of a viral video in which the sequence was distorted to make it appear as if he had responded with disgust, fire, and fury to a harmless question asked by one of the country's brightest young advocates.

Now, no one needs to take a taxi to your house to come and tell you that the NIDS bill was imperfect. Like almost all bills taken to Parliament, there are things that should never have been left there by the parliamentary draughtsman. And I watched keenly as the Senate did its job, straightening out kinks in the proposed law to make things smooth for those applying the letter of the law, along with those who'll be compelled to act in a specific manner by the law.

I will not give any special praise to the opposition senators for a job well done because if you watch them in the Upper House week in week out, you will know that what they displayed in the NIDS debate accorded with their usual standard of applying their experience, wisdom, and training to improve the pieces of legislation brought for their consideration.

Mark Golding is gone, but Donna Scott Mottley ensures that class still remains in the seat of leader of opposition business. I don't know what many will do when the master craftsman, K.D. Knight, draws stumps because we are unlikely to ever again see the likes of his peerless combination of wisdom, authority, and flair for the intellectual put-down.

And, of course, I am happy that Damion Crawford is back in the fold, representing my generation with quality.




That said, I must draw attention to a small minority on the opposition benches who retain a special obnoxious quality, which means that even when talking sense, they come across as having been angry before breakfast from the time they switched on the lights in their house and saw that horrid figure staring back at them in the mirror.

There is one opposition senator who I am convinced is always irascible because he genuinely believes it to be the best way to draw and get attention. He will do anything to irritate, and it will not surprise me if one day, he were to literally spill his guts in the chamber just because of the headlines he would generate.

The public education and communication around the NIDS was amateur. It was dunce to not anticipate the backlash attendant to the introduction of a national identification. For sure, the execution of a smarter communication strategy would not have removed all the criticisms about and around the NIDS, but it would have nullified much of the main points of misinformation about the need for this new credential.

The Government pays too many millions to communications specialists, who ought to have anticipated and then neutralised the damaging issues.


- George Davis is a broadcast executive producer and talk-show host. Email feedback to .and