Sat | Jan 25, 2020

$12.4m earned annually by former NIDS programme director

Published:Monday | December 9, 2019 | 12:15 AMJason Cross/ Gleaner Writer

Former programme Director for the National Identification System (NIDS), Warren Vernon, was raking in $12.46 million a year, The Gleaner understands. Responding to an access to information request from Zahra Burton of 18 Degrees North, which was received by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on November 12, the OPM confirmed that Vernon, a long-time civil servant, was seconded from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to serve in the post.

The OPM insisted that the salary for Vernon, whose contract ended on October 31, 2019, was legally approved.

After NIDS was struck down by the court, Vernon provided strategic leadership to the project up to October 31.

Tending to responsibilities to the NIDS Act, according to the OPM, was just one of Vernon’s key responsibilities.

His salary was said to be paid out of a US$2-million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank.

As at October 31, NIDS forked over US$631,659.21 to pay a total of 14 project staff members.

Vernon’s duties as NIDS programme director included:

- To lead, direct and control activities of the National Identification System project, building the institutional and technical capacity of vital areas in the country’s national identification and security apparatus.

- Collaborating with other agencies.

- Work full-time and on site.

- Technical tasks, such as reviewing and analysing Jamaica’s existing identification systems and ensuring their alignment with the country’s identity development plan.

- Digitising existing records.

- Advising on strategic issues aimed at institutionalising new technologies acquired, realising the objectives of implemented projects, and ensuring sustainability.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com