JIS News

Only one per cent of customers of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) will be affected by a new fee structure for services offered by the agency.
Announcing the new fees at a press conference, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in Kingston, October 5, Chief Executive Officer of the RGD, Dr. Patricia Holness, noted that the agency’s last increase was in 2004, when fees were adjusted for its main services.
Among the new adjustments is a courier fee of $100 for each application. This is the first time, since the 2004 introduction of courier services, that customers will be required to contribute a percentage of the cost of this service. It is the only service which will affect all RGD customers.
In addition, it will cost $210 per legal sheet for recording any deed or other writing; $250 per legal sheet of deeds or other writing recorded in the RGD’s office; and $1,000 for genealogical search. Fees have also been adjusted for some 11 other services.
“There has been no increase in fees for the main services, that is, birth, death and marriage certificates. This would have affected over 277,398 customers,” Dr. Holness told the press conference.
The increase in fees comes as the agency seeks to sustain its operations and achieve greater efficiencies.
“We have a shared vision with the Government to further improve Jamaica’s Civil Registration facilities. However, this would not be possible if we did not adjust our fees. The RGD’s last fee increase was in 1999 for Island Record Office Service. The inflation rate was 6.8 per cent, and the US dollar at that time was selling for an average J$41. In November 2003 the inflation rate was 13.8 per cent and the US dollar sold for an average of J$59.80,” Dr. Holness argued.
She informed that since the last increase, the agency has grappled with the challenges of rising inflation and increases in its operational costs, and had even introduced a number of cost saving measures, to reduce expenditure. These included scaling down its shift system; re-cycling envelopes and other stationery; car pooling, and energy conservation. The agency has also not filled 50 vacancies.
This has resulted in savings of $9.6 million, but the agency continues to face rising costs.
“The decision to adjust our fees at this time was a challenging one. We know the difficulties being experienced by some Jamaican families. However, we had no choice but to adjust the fees at this time,” Dr. Holness said.
With the adjustment in fees, the RGD is offering its customers a new service, in the form of a family calendar. This is an official document which outlines the birth, marriage, and death details of each member of a family.
“The RGD is committed to serve Jamaica as we mark 130 years of operation this month. We will continue to implement new programmes to meet the needs of the Jamaican community. We understand that there is still that one per cent of our customers that are not satisfied, and the RGD will continue to implement measures to satisfy our many customers,” Dr. Holness said.

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