Thu | Apr 9, 2020

Missing father’s details no problem for NIDS

Published:Monday | August 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue/ Senior Gleaner Writer

Chief Technical Director in the Office of the Prime Minister Jacqueline Lynch-Stewart has emphasised that the absence of fathers' details from birth certificates will not prevent persons from registering under the National Identification System (NIDS).

With 26 per cent of the births registered in Jamaica last year incomplete because the father's name was not included, there were fears that these persons could face issues with the introduction of the single ID number for all Jamaicans.

But providing clarity late last week, Lynch-Stewart told The Gleaner that NIDS is not interested in relationships between individuals, but in individuals' identity.

"The National Identification System is one that is specific to each person. NIDS does not need to know about the father's particulars on the source document (birth certificate)," said Lynch-Stewart.

"What we are actually doing is actually determining that you were born here and you had a name and birth certificate. Details such as the mother's and father's name are not that significant," added Lynch-Stewart.

She said that for persons who cannot establish their identities because of various challenges that would cause them to be undocumented, a search would be done at the Registrar General's Department (RGD).

If at that point no record is found, a late registration would be done at the RGD "to establish that you are a human being, and once we have that basis, you will get your national identification card".

Lynch-Stewart added: "It is about the individual and not your history. So, I do not anticipate at all that is going to be an issue."

In November 2017, the House of Representatives passed the National Identification and Registration Bill, which seeks to establish a reliable identification system for Jamaica.

Each citizen will be provided with a random nine-digit National Identification Number for life.

The opposition People's National Party has gone to court to challenge the constitutionality of aspects of the NIDS legislation. The case is scheduled to be heard in October.