Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Inner-city residents to get birth certificates

Published:Tuesday | January 24, 2017 | 1:00 AMSyranno Baines
Mona Sue-Ho

People of varying ages, the majority of whom would have been born prior to 2007, are set to receive aid to access or amend their birth certificates free of cost, which will subsequently allow them to access basic social services.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the Registrar General's Department (RGD) yesterday to provide assistance to 18 inner-city communities under the JSIF-implemented Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP).

ICDP was implemented in May 2014 and is funded by the World Bank to the tune of US$42 million and will run through May 2020.

The MOU will facilitate the recruitment, selection and training of 40 data collectors from members of the 18 ICDP communities. It will also see the establishment of community registration points to facilitate ongoing registrations of persons.

The RGD-implemented bedside registration took effect in 2007 and saw parents simply selecting a name for the child at birth. An official free birth certificate is then issued between three days and six weeks later.

However, prior to 2007, no such official system of operation was in place to govern the proceedings of child identification.

Mona Sue-Ho, JSIF social development manager, cites a lack of awareness and financial constraints back then as reasons for persons not having the documentation.

She told The Gleaner: "You find that persons are still able to access a range of social services, including education and even the labour force, without the document. The urgency arises to secure it when children have to sit the GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test) examination or graduate, for instance. Also, if persons in the labour force wish to travel, in which case they would not have a passport and need to start from scratch."

Sue-Ho said JSIF will undertake a large social marketing campaign to support the registration process while highlighting its importance.

RGD's Chief Executive Officer Deirdre Gosse, cited the move as being directly in line with the National Identification System set to come on stream in January 2018.

It is estimated that approximately 4,200 persons are to benefit from the processing of birth certificates in the project.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com