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Business leaders urge bipartisan consensus towards creating new ID law

Published:Sunday | April 14, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica's business leaders are urging for bipartisan consensus in developing a modern national identification law and accompanying system in light of Friday's court ruling that the National Identification and Registration Act (NIRA) is unconstitutional.

"As it appears that there is political consensus as to the necessity for implementing a national identification law, we strongly urge both political parties to immediately commence consultations, with a view to settling the contentious differences in the legislation and avoiding the provisions which offend our constitution, so as to return a bill to the house and enable a smooth and early passage," said the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) and Jamaica Exporters and Manufacturers Association (JMEA) in a joint statement issued this afternoon.

The three, which are among the island's main business groups, said the establishment of a modern identification system was imperative to the country achieving the targets set out in Vision 2030.

Notwithstanding the court's ruling on the NIRA, which establishes the National Identification and Data System (NIDS), the groups said the need for a modern identification system "surpasses partisan considerations if the interest of all Jamaicans are to be served".

"We call upon the leaders of both political parties to set aside any temptation to continue to contest this subject in the sectarian political arena and act to ensure that Jamaica receives not only the full benefit of the financial support to implement the identification system, but the early and valuable improvements that effective legislation will bring to our citizens in their personal and business endeavours," the statement continued.

The business leaders say they are prepared to offer any assistance that is required to have an appropriate system implemented.

"To the extent that we can be of any assistance whatsoever to assist in achieving the above objective, we place ourselves at the disposal of the respective leadership," the business groups said.

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