JIS News

KINGSTON — Prime Minister Bruce Golding on September 27 launched the National Identification System (NIDS) which will see every Jamaican citizen in possession of a national identification card that will have universal application.

The launch took place at Jamaica House with a formal exchange of a technical cooperation agreement between the Governments of Jamaica, the Republic of    Korea and the Inter-American Development Bank which have partnered with the government to provide funding to the tune of US$670,000. The Government of Jamaica has provided an additional US$120,000 for the project.

In his address, Mr Golding said the new identification card will have a multiplicity of   uses that have to do with government services, legal, civic, statutory responsibilities, security, personal use and other sensitive issues. “We want to get to the stage where we have a single identification that is acceptable…the integrity and security of which are beyond any question, any doubt”, Mr. Golding said.

However, he said ‘There are some knotty issues that   have to be addressed. We are going to have to make a policy decision as to how this identification system will interface with law enforcement functions’. He said a full communications programme will be rolled out to sensitise and educate the public about the NIDS programme because it will not just capture names but will include all the information  that the ID card should cover,  the integrity and security of which,  will be beyond any doubt. 

Mr Golding said government had long recognized the need for a central multipurpose system of identification. Serious work on this had started from as far back as 1979 with recommendations coming out of the electoral advisory commission. It had not progressed over the years because the cost was considered to be unaffordable.

However Mr Golding said  when the responsibility for National Identification system was transferred  to the Office of the Prime Minister a review was done and it was discovered that much of the data gathering was already done by the Registrar General’s department, the electoral office  and other government departments and it would not have been as expensive as previously thought.

Mr. Golding expressed   gratitude to the Korean government and especially to the Charge d’affaires, Mr. Kim Mo Lim, the IDB and the many government agencies which played a critical role in bringing the project to its present stage of development.