Sun | Sep 23, 2018

PICA setting the record straight

Published:Wednesday | December 17, 2014 | 11:30 PM


We write in response to a letter published on November 24, 2014 ('PICA's madness').

The Jamaican birth certificate is a crucial source document in the passport-application process. It serves as proof of Jamaican nationality and is a primary source of data required for our services. A laminated document, such as a birth certificate, significantly inhibits our document-inspection process. Primarily, it reduces our ability to verify the authenticity of the document. Security features are difficult to identify or validate when the document in question is not the original or is laminated. Additionally, in some instances and for some documents, especially older ones, lamination destroys raised seals. This practice of not accepting laminated documents as an authenticated source document is not unique to Jamaica and is practised in most jurisdictions due to the same security concerns.

Identity theft and cases involving obtaining passports by means of false pretence and fraudulent birth certificates are live issues in our day-to-day operations. Given PICA's core mandate, border security, we have a duty to ensure that the birth certificate is properly issued by the Registrar General's Department and is truly that of the individual that made the application.

We understand and appreciate the reasons for laminating documents; however based on the security challenges, we suggest that you keep a laminated copy for posterity and have an un-laminated copy for use by government Agencies such as PICA.