Mon | Nov 12, 2018

Under NIDS, role of RGD will be bigger

Published:Saturday | November 10, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Jacqueline Lynch-Stewart is greeted by Linval Freeman, president of the Rotary Club of Kingston, at the club’s general meeting held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Thursday.

As the nation awaits a ruling from the courts as to whether aspects of the National Identification and Registration Act are unconstitutional, the public education campaign for the National Identification System (NIDS) has gone into overdrive.

Chief Technical Director in the Office of the Prime Minister Jacqueline Lynch-Stewart said that the Registrar General's Department (RGD) would be expanded with the onset of NIDS.

Lynch-Stewart explained at a Rotary Club of Kingston meeting at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Thursday that a comprehensive system would be implemented to register births, marriages, and deaths, as well as to manage identity information of citizens.

"We have married identity management with the functions of RGD, and it will come under one entity called the National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA). That means the RGD will be modernised and transformed. The RGD does register births, marriages, and deaths, so we think it sensible to link that with an identity-management system in the island so everything works together as one," she said.

Lynch-Stewart said that with the establishment of the NIRA, attempts by criminals to steal other people's identity would be a thing of the past.

"When persons steal people's identity, a lot of the times, they choose persons who have passed and they literally assume the identity of dead persons," she said, adding that under NIDS, newborns would get a number that stayed with them until death. "Those at the younger end, between six and 18, will be required to renew every five years, while those over 18 will be required to renew every 10 years, and those over 60, every 15 years."

"The entire [NIDS database, including the NIRA aspect], will be secured in the island and will be managed by persons within the island. There will be restrictions in relation to disclosure. How the system works is that your information cannot be shared with anybody without your permission."

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com