Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Letter of the Day | RGD reregistration is nothing new

Published:Tuesday | April 11, 2017 | 4:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In reference to the article captioned 'Children born out of wedlock can now get records amended - RGD' in The Gleaner dated Wednesday, April 5, 2017, we would like to correct the information conveyed, as reregistration is not a new service that has been launched, but has been on offer for some time.

Each human being that exists has equal value, worth and importance, regardless of the circumstances of one's birth and the social, legal or cultural customs which would seek to dictate otherwise. Some pieces of the legislation that governs the operations of the Registrar General's Department (RGD) contain a few obsolete terms. These include conferring 'status' to individuals based on the marital status of their parents. The RGD has already commenced the process of making recommendations for the amendments to such laws.

As has been customary over the years, the agency continually conducts public education campaigns concerning its products and services, all of which have impacted upon the legal benefits and rights that can be obtained by Jamaican citizens. Our civil records are often the basis for establishing identity, paternity and lineage.

We continue to urge complete registration for all persons born in Jamaica, inclusive of father's particulars.

A father's particulars can be added to a birth record by a Declaration of Paternity Order, through a status application or by a reregistration application. The Declaration of Paternity can be obtained at the Parish Court, Family Court or the Supreme Court. The circumstances of the case will determine which court the application should be made. Status applications are mainly relevant to an unmarried father, while a re-registration is applicable to a father who is now married to the mother of his child.

In our most recent public education and sensitisation focus, we have chosen to remind the public of the reregistration process, which is Section 52 of the Registration (Births and Deaths Act) (1881). This process has roots in British legislation, as do most of our laws enacted prior to Independence.

 

COMPLETING REGISTRATION

 

Additionally, similar reregistration provisions appear in the legislation of many other English-speaking Caribbean countries. The process is not a declaration of 'status', but simply a method of completing one's birth registration with the relevant information for his/her father.

The main benefit of having father's particulars updated on the birth record is establishing the individual's paternity. From this, there are several uses of a birth certificate completed with father's particulars, including for filing purposes, proof for claiming for health insurance, child maintenance, life insurance or other death claims, settlement of estate, easier and more accurate completion of a genealogy of an individual, evidence for paternal custody rights, among others.

Most important, it is another way in which the father can demonstrate paternal responsibility to his child. As such, the RGD encourages all parents to take advantage of the provision so that they and their children can indeed derive the intended benefits which accompany the reregistration process.

The RGD continues to encourage our customers to call the agency if further assistance is required at 749-0550 or 619-1260, or email us at information@rgd.gov.jm. We will be more than willing to assist you.

DEIDRE ENGLISH GOSSE

CEO, Registrar General's Department