Henry renews call for national registration
CENTRAL CLARENDON Member of Parliament (MP) Mike Henry has renewed his call for a national registration of all Jamaicans.
Speaking in the House of Representatives last Tuesday, Henry said that many Jamaicans walk around without an identity because of the failure of the State to properly register its citizens and present them with a national identification card.
"If you don't have your voters' identification card or your birth certificate, you are known as 'Bruk Head John', an alias," said Henry.
He argued that using alias as a mean of identification is a continuation of slavery, and urged the Government to bring legislation to Parliament for a national registration system.
According to Henry, the system would ensure that every person, irrespective of creed, class, address or other social description, would be assured the right of identity.
"We (legislators) are privileged persons in here, but let us live on Bucks Common and even in downtown Kingston, you have no identity, no recognition," the opposition MP said.
Henry charged that with many Jamaicans existing without birth certificates, there is grave danger of people being unaccounted for.
"After the birth certificate, the next time you are recognised by the Government of this country is when you get to primary school, and if you are not registered at primary school, there is no recognition in the system.
"The next time you are required to have an identity, after you have gone to school now, is when you are at secondary school at 16. You have no further recognition until you register to vote," Henry lamented.
"If you don't register to vote, the only other identity you have after that is if you get a TRN (tax registration number)," he added.
The veteran parliamentarian said the absence of a national registration system creates a great social gap, which denies many citizens the right to an identity.