Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Jamaican ‘jackethood’ and the efficacy of a NIDS

Published:Monday | November 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Gordon Robinson's brilliant article 'The Big Spy' in last Sunday's Gleaner very cogently made the case that the NIDS, as now promulgated into statute law, breaches the privacy provisions of the citizenry contained in Jamaica's Charter of Rights.

Quite frankly, I do not anticipate that Jamaican political administrations are likely to be deterred by such niceties as constitutional law and that this recently promulgated intrusive law will remain unchallenged, owing to the slow pace of due process through a tortuous process of litigation.

My contention is based upon the fakery of a 'biometric NIDS' placed upon the shaky foundation of the clear fallacy inherent in a reality that as many as 38 per cent of Jamaicans are likely to start life with a fake identity from day one. The data provided by CAPRIGEN, UWI some years ago suggest, based upon the statistical principle of randomization, that the declared paternity of more than one-third of Jamaicans is questionable, based upon DNA typing.




The issue which this is likely to pose, in my opinion, is whether the Jamaican Government will presume a moral and legal obligation to cross-reference the DNA identity of all persons registering under the NIDS in order to validate that we are truly who we are led to believe ourselves to be.

In the absence of this, what therefore would be the value of such an elaborate intrusive, costly and, highly likely, unconstitutional system of national identification, except to prostrate ourselves before 'The Piper'?

As a very inquisitive researcher by profession, I honestly do not think, were I one of the 'need to know' officials of Government, that I could resist the urge for delving deeper into this rich field of data - a protection against which no Jamaican government is likely to be able ever to guarantee in a population of naturally 'fass' people.

Paul Jennings, PhD

International Development Consultant