The Full Story
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, on Friday (September 9), officially launched the National Identification System’s (NIDS) ‘Operation Birthright’ Project at Jamaica House, in Kingston.
The US$350,000 Government project intends to address the immediate concern among Jamaicans who are without birth certificates, where it is reported that some 200,000 of the nation’s citizens do not have legal proof of identity.
The initiative will provide identity registration support for the birth certificate, specifically to needy children and adults without legal and physical identification documents.
With a birth certificate in hand, these persons will be better able to access Government and business services.
Eligible persons can be recommended for the undocumented registration programme by several institutions and personnel.
These include the Head of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities; senior officials of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development; Members of Parliament; Justices of the Peace, and public officers.
Recommendations can also be made by a medical practitioner, minister of religion, police officer, parish councillor, dental surgeon, official representative of the Missionaries of the Poor, Chief Executor Officer/Coordinator of a Registered Civil Society Organisation, and Head of the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), among others.
In his address, the Prime Minister said it is imperative that every Jamaican has access to a birth certificate that empowers the State to “serve you better.”
“In other words, it gives the State the ability to fulfil your right to the public goods that you are entitled to. So, it is such a powerful document,” he stated
Mr. Holness pointed out that the acquisition of and access to a birth certificate will enable every Jamaican to be eligible for registration under NIDS, when it is rolled out.
“So, this is an important step for equity, to ensure that every Jamaican, including those who did not have their birth certificate, gets a chance to participate in the NIDS. Once we have everyone participating in the NIDS fully, then we can increase the intensity of moving towards our digital society,” the Prime Minister explained.
“We are marching in that direction very rapidly. This Administration is committed to building out the digital society. We are on our way, we are doing it fairly and inclusively, and we are making sure that the benefit of it [reaches] every single Jamaican,” he added.
For his part, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Floyd Green, who has responsibility for NIDS, noted that Operation Birthright is the Government’s first comprehensive approach to locating the country’s most vulnerable undocumented citizens and providing them with a birth certificate, free of charge.
Jamaica’s National Identification System will provide a comprehensive and secure structure to enable the collection and storage of identity information.
This secure tool can also verify an individual’s identity and facilitate the electronic signing of documents and secure access to a range of government services online.