KINGSTON — The Registrar General's Department (RGD) is to implement an online verification process as it looks to cut down on records fraud.
The agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Patricia Holness, said that the software has been written and testing is currently underway. She indicated that the necessary security features will be put in place to protect against fraud.
“Our customers have asked for it – our embassies, consulates, persons who employ persons. Persons (will be able) to visit the system and say, ‘I have a birth certificate with number X, Y, Z, is it authentic’ and you will be able to get a response,” she explained.
Dr. Holness, who was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, said that there are “literally hundreds of cases” of fraudulent records being generated, noting that these impact the civil registry process and cause serious problems for the individuals concerned.
She is cautioning Jamaicans not to put their vital records in the hands of persons, who are not authorised to process such documents and instead, use the facilities offered at the RGD and its agencies across the island.
“Be careful, who you allow to go through a process of securing a vital record for you. Be careful of the persons, who you allow to do an amendment for you. Be careful of the persons, who are offering to create a deed poll because, when the processes have not been followed, eventually, it’s going to impact the individual,” she warned.
Dr. Holness cited the hypothetical case of fraudulent records being presented to the passport office for the generation of a passport, through which a visa is granted by the United States (US) Embassy. “Ten years later, when you have to renew that passport or apply for citizenship and are required to produce a certified copy, we will give you the record we have, which will not match the record you used earlier,” she pointed out.
In the meantime, persons or agencies, who need to verify the authenticity of documents, may contact the RGD.
By O. RODGER HUTCHINSON, JIS Reporter