Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Jamaicans won't be denied critical services under NIDS, Gov't insists

Published:Monday | November 13, 2017 | 7:23 PM
Leader of Government Business in the Senate Kamina Johnson Smith and Government Senator Kavan Gayle in the Upper House.

The government is insisting that Jamaicans will not be denied critical services if they do not possess a national identification card when the new national registration regime takes effect.

The issue arose as members of the parliament’s Upper House continued another marathon meeting discussing the National Identification and Registration Act.

They were discussing Clause 41 which states that a public body shall require registered individuals to submit the National Identification Number assigned to them or their ID card to facilitate the delivery of goods or services by the public body.

Opposition senators insisted they could not support the provision.

They explained that there could be persons who have not registered, but need services from the government, such as children born to Jamaican parents, but who have just arrived in Jamaica.

Opposition Senator KD Knight said the public bodies should be allowed discretion to provide services, in such cases.

However, Leader of Government Business in the Senate Kamina Johnson Smith, said allowing such discretion could lead to corruption.


Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Kamina Johnson Smith

She also pointed out that the Government does not intend to deny citizens access to critical services, such as health.

She also pointed out that the section of the Bill does not apply in cases of emergency.

Johnson Smith suggested that the section of the Bill could be one of those earmarked for revision after 18 months.

The Senate is reviewing the clauses of the Bill at this hour despite calls for an adjournment by opposition members.

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