JIS News

Events such as births, deaths, and marriages have a significant impact on a nation and as such the records of these events, referred to as vital statistics, are kept under Government authority.
Registration of deaths, births and marriages are done at the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), with the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Unit responsible for collating this crucial information.
This department also disseminates the information to other government agencies such as the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, (STATIN) as well as to the general public.
“Sometimes we receive requests from persons who perhaps are studying and need that information. We also produce information that is used by the Pan American Health Organization and other such related agencies,” says Acting Manager of the RGD’s Civil Registration and Statistics Department, Monique Lynquee in an Interview with JIS News.
Vital statistics are available on request from the Unit, but the Department also produces monthly and annual statistics. Annual statistics are presented in two sets: preliminary and final statistics.
For example, for the year 2005, the preliminary statistical report became due at the end of January 2006 and the final report at the end of December 2006.
The Civil Registration Unit receives all incoming registration information from various RGD locations island wide, and these are then collected, analyzed and presented as vital statistics.
“Births and deaths are recorded at registration centres island wide and these are transmitted to our regional offices and then to the head office. Marriage certificates are brought in by the marriage officers, directly to either the head office or the regional office,” informs the Acting Manager.
Meanwhile the RGD’s Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Unit has formed a partnership with the Statistics Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), which also provides them with information necessary for registering sudden and violent deaths.
It is in recognition of the importance of this partnership that the RGD recently loaned five computers and a printer to the JCF Statistics Unit.
This unit is responsible for collecting, collating and analyzing data on all matters that come in to the police.
Sergeant Jalene Richards Nicholson says the computers are highly appreciated and will enable the unit to complete tasks more quickly.
“It’s a great help and it goes a far way. We will receive our data online instead of fax, and this process will enable us to produce (statistics) in a timely manner,” she explains.
In addition to saving on paper and time, the data that is received can be transferred electronically from the police to the RGD and this will also eliminate the task of having to physically move information from one location to the next.
In 2004, the government established a five-year Vital Statistics Commission, in an effort to improve Jamaica’s Vital Statistics and Civil Registration System.
The Vital Statistics Commission comprises STATIN, the Ministry of Finance and Planning, the RGD, the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the Ministries of Justice and Health, the JCF, and representatives from the University of the West Indies.
Miss. Lynquee says that although Jamaica’s civil registration and vital statistics system is advanced based on international standards, there is still more that could be done. “Basically those improvements have to do with the coordination between departments and also moving from a manual system to a more electronically based system. We are efficient, but I would say that there are improvements to be made,” she notes.
The RGD plays a key role in national development as it is the only organisation in Jamaica, which is responsible for registering births, fetal deaths, marriages and deaths, also known as vital events.

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