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JIS News

Minister of State for Finance and Planning and Member of Parliament for Southern St. Catherine, Fitz Jackson, has said that he would be embarking on a drive to encourage parents in the parish to register their children’s births.
This comes against the background of St. Catherine having 1,300 unregistered births, which is the fifth highest in the country. According to statistics from the Registrar General’s Department (RDG), Kingston has the highest number of unregistered births with 6,200, followed by St. Ann with 2,000, St. James with 1,500 and Manchester with 1,400.
“As a Member of Parliament, I have a duty to encourage mothers and mothers-to-be, fathers and fathers-to-be, to ensure that their child or children are registered in the year that the birth takes place. I will do my part as the Member of Parliament in my communication with constituents,” Mr. Jackson said, as he addressed the recent opening of the RGD’s Portmore Pines branch.
Mayor of Portmore, George Lee, for his part, pledged to do all in his power to reduce the number of unregistered births in Portmore.
“The figure is alarming but not frightening, as I became aware of the situation during my visits to the various communities of the municipality, but I personally intend to make the residents aware of the operations of the RGD in Portmore,” he stated.
The sensitisation process, he said, would be done through newsletters, training programmes, community meetings and “any avenue where there is public interaction”.
“I intend to make it known that the RGD offers all these services that are of benefit to them. That is why I welcome the establishment of the RGD here,” Mayor Lee stated.
Councillor for the Gregory Park Division of Portmore, Camille Buchanan, told JIS News that she too was aware of a number of unrecorded births in her division, especially in the informal areas.
“There are several in communities like Christian Gardens, Portmore Villas and Cotton where this is rampant but I intend to meet with the leaders of all 14 of the formal as well as the informal communities that make up Gregory Park .to make people aware of the governments waiver of fees (for birth certificates) and that the RGD is available and nearby,” she promised.
Councillor Buchanan said she would be working closely with the Gregory Park community development council to mount a public education campaign to address the issue.