Tue | Oct 20, 2020

Holness seeking to pass NIDS bill into law by December

Published:Tuesday | September 29, 2020 | 5:55 PM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness - file photo

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says he is hopeful that the National Identification System (NIDS) will become law by the end of the year.

In a statement to Parliament this afternoon, Holness told his parliamentary colleagues that the NIDS Policy Committee along with the Legislation Committee, which is a sub-committee of Cabinet, will first review the bill before it is submitted to Parliament for tabling.

Holness stated that once the bill is tabled, a joint-select committee would be established “to navigate the deliberations to arrive at a satisfactory National Identification and Registration Bill”.

He said that stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including civil society groups, would be given the opportunity to comment on the proposed statute during the deliberations of the committee.

The National Identification and Registration Act 2017, on which NIDS was to be based, was passed in November 2017 without being referred to a joint-select committee for deliberations.

It was struck down by the courts as unconstitutional in 2019.

In an apparent attempt at assuring Jamaicans that this new draft law would be properly ventilated, Holness said he was fully cognisant of and sensitive to the legitimate concerns that persons have regarding data protection and privacy.  

He said that the Government was committed to putting in place the legislative, technological, and independent oversight mechanisms to ensure that the rights of persons are respected and protected.

“The Government will also provide an online forum on NIDSFACTS.COM for all Jamaicans to comment on the Bill,” the Prime Minister said.

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