JIS News
Minister of Justice and Chairman of the Joint Select Committee on the National Identification and Registration Act, 2020 (NIDS), Hon. Delroy Chuck, addressing the first of six virtual town halls on the NIDS on January 13.
Photo: Donald De La Haye

Members of the public have until Friday, January 29 to submit written comments to the Joint Select Committee of Parliament on the National Identification and Registration Act, 2020 (NIDS).

Comments may be submitted to Clerk to the Houses, Gordon House, 81 Duke Street, Kingston or via electronic mail to clerk@japarliament.gov.jm.

The 71-page document can be downloaded from the Houses of Parliament website at www.japarliament.gov.jm.

Persons making written submissions may be required to appear before the Committee at short notice to explain their submissions.

Minister of Justice and Chairman of the Joint Select Committee on the National Identification and Registration Act, 2020, Hon. Delroy Chuck, said that NIDS will be beneficial to every citizen, adding that it “will be a game-changer to allow citizens to access the services of government and of the private sector”.

Mr. Chuck, who was speaking at the first of six virtual town halls on NIDS on January 13, urged persons to familiarise themselves with the Bill and express their concerns, reservations, opinions and/or recommendations to Parliament.

“To the extent where persons have not seen a copy as yet, check with a Justice of the Peace (JP) and the JP can access it from the Custodes or from myself… . It is a very simple Bill… and each clause is easy to read and understand,” he noted.

Minister Chuck said that the town halls aim to educate and inform the public about NIDS while providing an opportunity for persons to further participate in the legislative process.

“We want to ensure that in these town hall meetings, all misinformation or misleading comments are dealt with,” he noted.

He pointed out that the sessions are in addition to the approximately 100 institutions and organisations that have been invited to make written submissions. He said that the Joint Select Committee “will invite those contributors to meet us in Parliament for deliberations starting as early as the first week in February”.

In December last year, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, tabled the National Identification and Registration Act, 2020, which makes provisions for a voluntary and secure National Identification System for Jamaica.

“The Bill will serve as the legal basis for the establishment of a robust, efficient and effective National Identification System, underpinned by a legal and regulatory framework that supports safe, secure and reliable verification of identity information for citizens of Jamaica and persons ordinarily resident in Jamaica,” Mr. Holness said then.

“It will allow for the strengthening of identity security, reduction of identity fraud and the simplification of bureaucracy,” he added.

Subsequent to the Supreme Court ruling in April 2019 on the National Identification and Registration Act, 2017, the Government revised the 2016 National Identification and Registration Policy and developed a new Bill in compliance with the ruling.

The policy now provides for a voluntary NIDS that will provide a secure, reliable and convenient means of identification for citizens and persons ordinarily resident in Jamaica, and the administrative structure, powers and functions that are necessary for the establishment and maintenance of such a system.

It also provides for a robust and coherent legislative framework to deal with the collection, processing, storage, retention, usage, and protection of personal data; the protocols, procedures, and systems for identity verification, monitoring and compliance; and an independent oversight body.

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