Tue | Aug 22, 2017

New national ID waste of time, money

Published:Monday | July 13, 2015 | 7:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I read with immense disappointment a report in your paper about the Government of Jamaica fast-tracking a new national identification programme.

While I am totally in support of a national ID, I am dumbfounded as to why a country as afflicted with poverty as ours would opt to spend millions on a new system when we already have a de facto national ID in the form of the Tax Registration Number (TRN).

Why not just adjust the laws and expand the use of the TRN? It's already developed and in widespread use by companies and individuals. It must be far cheaper and more effective to adjust what is already in play.

Can you imagine when this new identification is rolled out and we will all have to run out to be registered and then, in short order, the banks and other financial institutions will be required to have it in their database as well?

So now we will have TRN, NIS and national ID! Really, there's not that many of us!

After all, our immensely wealthy neighbour to the north did the same thing with its Social Security number. Launched in the 1930s as a means of identifying people on welfare, it has now become the national identification number for Americans, used for everything from credit checks to taxation.

Surely, at a time when we are struggling to find money to pay teachers, doctors and police, we should not be looking to implement non-efficient programmes. The name of the game has got to be efficiency.

PAUL DUNCAN

pduncan428@gmail.com