JIS News

Some 34 mobile outreach teams of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) will be located islandwide to facilitate the official naming of the 18,000 children, whose names are not on their birth records.
The teams will visit the main towns and districts in all 14 parishes over a five-week period, beginning September 11, to accept applications relating to the 18,000 children.
Following the announcement made by Health Minister, Horace Dalley at the official opening of the Portmore Regional Office last Thursday (August 17), that the Government would assist to underwrite the cost of having the names of the children on the records, the RGD has put in place teams of customer service representatives to meet the people in their communities.
“Meet us there,” Chief Executive Officer of the RGD, Dr. Patricia Holness said as she addressed a JIS ‘Think Tank’ yesterday (August 22).
“We are asking parents whose children fall within this cohort not to go to our Twickenham Park or other regional offices. We are taking the mobile teams out and we are saying here, we are for you on these two days,” she explained.
According to Bryan Aikman, Deputy CEO and Director of Operations at the RGD, “the department has committed itself to naming these 18,000 children who were born between January 1, 2003 and August 31, 2004”.
“In addition to posting teams across the island, the RGD will be creating a master list of all the basic schools, targeting the health centres and embarking on an extensive public education campaign to make parents aware of when and where the mobile teams will be and the relevant documents they will need in order to complete the process,” Mr. Aikman continued.
Parents will need to provide photo identification, for example, a driver’s licence with a Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN), a national identification card or a current passport. In addition, they will need to produce a copy of the child’s immunization card or the baptismal certificate of the child, in order to complete the naming process, which would cost $500. Originally, the cost of the whole process would have been $2,000.
Highlighting the five parishes with the highest number of children without an official name on their birth records, Mr. Aikman cited Kingston with 6,259; St. Ann, 2,124; Manchester, 1,400; St. James, 1,376; and St. Catherine, 1,316. Portland has the least number of cases with 198.
Apart from adding the child’s name, Mr. Aikman is also encouraging both parents to attend the prescribed locations to be announced, so that the name of the child’s father and his particulars can be added to the certificate at the same time without additional cost.
“We will waive the Late Entry of Name fee of $2,000 and the parents will pay only $500 to process the application. The Government will be underwriting the cost incurred to the sum of $27 million,” Mr. Aikman informed.
Additionally, the RGD is appealing to the public to be mindful of the dates and times when they will be visiting the various parishes. “We will be having supplements in the newspapers, promotions on the radio and on television, including the local cable stations, utilizing town criers, posting information on our website as well as that of other government agencies, visiting churches, schools, citizens association meetings and writing letters to the addresses that we have of the mothers of these children at the time of birth,” he outlined.
The birth certificates, according to Dr. Holness, would be available at least six weeks after the process is completed and would be delivered to the parents, using the RGD’s courier service system.
“Although the birth certificates will not be ready in time for the new school year,” Dr. Holness explained, “the RGD will be arranging with the Ministry of Education to facilitate those children without their birth certificates. Since we do have the names of the parents and the date of birth of the children, special arrangements can be made for these children. We can assure them (the Ministry) that the child will have a name, once the parents appear to have it done”.
On a monthly basis, the RGD processes more than 30,000 applications for birth, death and marriage certificates.