Mon | May 27, 2019

What next for NIDS?

Published:Monday | April 15, 2019 | 12:13 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Government of Jamaica has been given a big blow, as the constitutional court of Jamaica struck down its controversial bill, the National Identification System (NIDS).

The court has pointed out some aspects of this bill to be breaches of one’s human rights, according to the Charter of Rights 2011.

Some of the controversial aspects of the bill are: the retina scan, which is able to tell one’s state of health; mandatory registration of the system; and how will the data be stored.

These points are really interesting and a lot of answers are needed. The shock to many is that no part of the bill can stand, following the court ruling.

I do believe that this bill would have had far-reaching effects for doing business within one’s country. As citizens, we are so frustrated by the different levels of red tape and paperwork in conducting business in Jamaica.

This bill, many would argue, would help to fight crime, and it would also be able to capture a person’s every detail and be better able to identify an individual.

The question on the lips of many is, what is next for this National Identification System?Well, there are many options, such as: create a new NIDS Act, bearing in mind the court’s ruling on the breaching of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. Take the matter to the Privy Council for them to rule whether or not the entire act must be struck down. Hold a referendum and find out if the public wants a National Identification system. Forget all about NIDS and leave it to another administration to implement.

Going forward, the Government and the Opposition must take a bipartisan approach to this proposed National Identification System.

CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON

Minister of Religion

Hanover

chrisron23@gmail.com