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JIS News

The Registrar General’s Department (RGD) is encouraging persons who were registered with first names only to apply for ‘late entry of name’ to have their surnames added to their birth certificates.
This call, has come from the RGD’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Patricia Holness, who was speaking at a Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) meeting held at the Golden Grove All-Age School in St. Ann, recently.
“With nations moving to tighten their borders around the world, the issue of securing an identity is crucial. The RGD no longer issues birth certificates without last names,” she told the audience.
Dr. Holness said that with the heightened security measures being implemented worldwide and with countries moving to tighten access to their borders, it is important for persons to have an identity, which includes documents with their full names.
Meanwhile, Jamaica continues to lead many countries of the world in registration events, according to the CEO.
“We have 99.8 per cent reporting on all events. In other developing countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, the under-reporting of civil registration is over four per cent,” she said.
“The United Nations estimates that 50 million births go unregistered each year. In Jamaica we are proud to say that less than one percent of births go unregistered each year,” the CEO said.
Many Jamaicans who were registered in the 1940s and 1950s do not have last names on their original birth records or on their birth certificates. However, they were still able to get passports, buy property and marry in the surname that they used while at school. Now in the new global environment, they are unable to get their passports renewed without birth certificates, which must have surnames attached. Some are also unable to receive their retirement benefits when these become due, hence the need for the late entry of names.
The RGD provided services, including late entry of names, to Jamaicans in the Diaspora on outreach visits to Britain and the United States earlier this year. As part of its drive to promote public awareness, the Department conducts over 300 outreach events each year.