Sun | May 19, 2019

Holness blasts 'backward-thinking people' - PM whips up party faithfuls around controversial NIDS

Published:Tuesday | November 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness rebuked adversaries of the controversial National Identification System (NIDS) as he drummed up political support around the issue in West Kingston, the toughest stronghold for his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

NIDS, which is now the subject of court proceedings orchestrated by the Opposition People's National Party, was passed in Parliament late last year under controversial circumstances, with the Government making the case that the new system will be designed to stamp out informality in the country.

Speaking at the JLP rally held at the Kingston High School on Sunday, the prime minister continued to push that line.

"We want to ensure that every single Jamaican is known, recognised, and provided for by the State of Jamaica," Holness said, adding that people will have better access to credit and financial services in the country.

The JLP leader lamented that it currently takes too long for people to transact business in the country, mentioning that such difficulties have put a strain on the country's reputation for ease of doing business.

Without calling names or even mentioning the current court challenge to the NIDS, Holness fired several political missiles at those who he believes are stifling the growth of the country through what he characterised as "backward thinking".

He told the Labourites that it was time to embrace the opportunities for the future.




"There is some people who say all kinda thing 'bout it. Say all kind of apocalyptic thing going to happen if we have a national ID. Rubbish! Rubbish!" an emotional Holness said to bell-ringing Labourites on Sunday.

"There is a stream of thinking in Jamaica that has held sway for the last half a century or more, and it has kept us backward and poor. It is now time for a new generation of Jamaicans who understand what the future is going to be like, who appreciate and understand where technology can take us, to stand up against the backward-thinking people and lead this country into the future that God has destined for us."

Holness said that there is confusion in the country about privacy and anonymity.

"If you believe that because the Government doesn't know your name, that means your business is private, you are making a mistake," he said. "Anonymity is not privacy! Privacy is when the Government sets rules and regulations about what information cannot be shared or can be shared, under what circumstances, and defends those rules with integrity."