JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Director of Elections, Orette Fisher, says the implementation of a national registration system will ensure that the names of deceased persons do not appear on the voters’ list.
  • The Government is developing a National Identification System (NIDS), which is on track for full implementation by 2020.
  • “The entire verification process would now be a lot easier and a lot of the running around to get information would be eliminated,” he added.

Director of Elections, Orette Fisher, says the implementation of a national registration system will ensure that the names of deceased persons do not appear on the voters’ list.

This, he said, will protect the integrity of the electoral system and make it easier to determine the number of eligible voters in the country.

Mr. Fisher was addressing the close of the three-day Caribbean Civil Registration and Identity Management Conference in Montego Bay on June 8.

The Government is developing a National Identification System (NIDS), which is on track for full implementation by 2020.

NIDS will allow for the identification of Jamaicans and people ordinarily resident in the country, and will provide a comprehensive and secure structure to collect and store personal identity information.

Phase one of the project was completed in 2015, which involved developing the legislative and institutional framework; designing the NIDS Information Communications Technology (ICT) architecture; conducting an economic and cost/benefit analysis; carrying out a baseline survey, and developing a communication and behaviour change plan.

Mr. Fisher informed that the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EoJ) has been working closely with the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) to clean the voters’ list.

He informed that on a quarterly basis, the RGD supplies the office with a list of individuals over the age of 18, who died in the preceding quarter, including their names, addresses, and occupations.

He noted that while the process is useful, because it is not compulsory for deaths to be registered with the RGD, there are cases that have gone unreported and this undermines efforts to remove deceased electors.

“We have to get to where there is a national registration and a reliable database…which would afford every citizen a unique identification number. With this system in place, the data from the RGD would be of better assistance than it is at this time, as the Electoral Office would be better equipped to cross-reference the information,” he pointed out.

Mr. Fisher said that in developing its own national registration system, Jamaica could look at the Barbadian model where every person has a unique number.

“This number will be your personal number and will entail all vital and personal information about you and which will make identifying the person you are dealing with just a click away. This will indeed alleviate a lot of the problems we are now encountering,” he noted.

The Director of Elections noted that a national registry would be able to facilitate new electors over the age of 18, who want to get on the voters’ list.

“They would just notify the Electoral Office and we would get all their vital information from the national registry and get them on the voters’ list,” he added.

“The entire verification process would now be a lot easier and a lot of the running around to get information would be eliminated,” he added.