Sun | May 19, 2019

Thousands of birth, other certificates unclaimed from RGD - Persons urged to collect or will have to reapply

Published:Monday | November 12, 2018 | 12:49 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Nicole Whyte, marketing and planning manager at the Registrar General’s Department.

Almost 100,000 birth, death, marriage, and other certificates remain unclaimed at the offices of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD).

Nicole Whyte, marketing and planning manager at the RGD’s offices, speaking with The Gleaner last week, made an appeal for persons to come in and retrieve the documents.

Whyte noted that space to store the documents was running out.

“We have printed certificates for citizens islandwide that are in storage, and we want people to come and collect them. We have some 85,000 uncollected birth, death, marriage, adoption, and first free birth certificates currently in storage for the period 2001 to 2015, and we have been reminding the public to collect through various media.”

Birth certificates alone account for more than 10,000 of the documents.

Whyte explained that in 2007, a ​programme was started that made babies born at local hospitals entitled to receive a free birth certificate, but many persons have failed to collect them.

She said that the RGD has a number of birth certificates for persons living in rural areas.
She also indicated that the department may have to discard these certificates if nobody claims them.

“First free certificates were given to persons born from 2007. Since 2007, every child was entitled to one first free copy of their birth certificate. Automatically, we were just printing those so persons didn’t have to request them. However, those have been piling up because persons haven’t been collecting them. It’s a good thing we stopped doing that last year and only print on demand now,” Whyte said.

“We stopped delivering around 2013, so persons have had to come and pick up their birth certificates. We have had some from 2013. We have those, and we have the ones that persons have applied for, paid for, and they just don’t come back to collect them,” she said.

Whyte reminded persons that their birth certificate is what gives them their identity, and, without it, an individual will face difficulties in accessing national services.

“People need it to transact business, get into school, and register for things like the Primary Exit Profile, to get jobs and claim inheritance, and you can’t get a passport or a visa without your birth certificate. Importantly, you will need your birth certificate to access the National Identification System (NIDS),” Whyte told The Gleaner.

A specialist on the NIDS, who wished not to be named, said that a budget has been set aside, under the programme, specifically to ensure that persons have birth certificates.

“Under NIDS, there is a budget for partially registered and non-registered persons. That budget will be for the RGD to fund and carry out birth certificate drives in communities across the island. A lot of our efforts now are focused on preparing the RGD and the Jamaican citizens for the commencement and enrolment into the National Identification System.”