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JIS News

The Registrar General’s Department (RGD) will commence the first in its series of overseas outreach programmes for 2009, targeting Jamaicans in the Diaspora, on May 27 and 28 in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States (US).
Speaking to JIS News at the weekly luncheon of the Rotary Club of St. Andrew at the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (May 19), Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the RGD, Dr. Patricia Holness, said that the agency will be extending its services to Jamaicans in Atlanta for a second time, having done so in 2008.
The outreach will take place at the office of the Jamaican Honorary Consul in Stone Mountain and over the two days, the RGD will accept applications for birth, death, and marriage certificates, as well as provide guidance in conducting genealogical research and the changing of name by deed poll.
Dr. Holness said the RGD is looking to continue its overseas outreach activities in the Cayman Islands from June 1 to 3, where, she informed, that “Jamaicans are clamouring for our special hand-holding assistance, in terms of making changes and corrections to records, which they now have.” Other visits will be scheduled for Canada, the United Kingdom (UK) and other destinations in the US.
According to the RGD head, outreach activities last year, particularly those held in the US and the UK, yielded significant success for both the RGD and its clients, in terms of the services sought, and delivered.
“For the UK and US, we have had over 90 per cent success,” she told JIS News, adding that the RGD is awaiting additional information from other applicants, who have not yet received the documents for which they applied.
Of the countries, where the RGD’s services were extended and applications received, only Cuba recorded minimal success. “With those applications that are coming out of Cuba… the date of birth associated with some of those individuals are in the 1700s to 1800s,” she explained, noting also that “many times the individuals (applying) are not even aware of the full name of the relative they are trying to reach.”
Noting the challenges arising from the inability to supply the information sought by the RGD to facilitate thorough processing of applications, the CEO said the agency has endeavoured to sensitise persons of the requirements.
“We have been trying to get the word out early, so that individuals will come prepared to process the applications. We have been on the radio overseas, trying to alert individuals to some of the requirements that are necessary to ensure that it (application) is done properly,” Dr. Holness told JIS News.