JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Registrar General’s Department (RGD) needs more than $350 million to complete digitization of all its records.
  • Mrs. English Gosse said the essential services will also benefit from digital record keeping, through the improvement of national planning.
  • The CEO is encouraging institutions such as the HEART Trust/NTA, National Youth Service (NYS), Universities and Community Colleges to invest in internship programmes to assist with the staff required to make the project a success.

The Registrar General’s Department (RGD) needs more than $350 million to complete digitization of all its records.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on May 3, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the RGD, Deirdre English Gosse, explained that digitization is a very expensive process that will require investment.

“We would like stakeholders to invest in the agency’s efforts to digitize the over eight million records. It will require money (to purchase) new equipment to collate the information based on name, gender and location, as well as to pay for servers for storage and staff to carry out the work,” she said.

The CEO pointed out that the most obvious benefit of the digital system will be the improved efficiency, accuracy and speed of the service to provide the certificates to the public.

“When you come to the RGD to get a copy of a certificate, we want the applicants to get through with the click of a button, getting the requested documents within 15 minutes, hence the move to eliminate manual processing,” she added.

Mrs. English Gosse said the essential services will also benefit from digital record keeping, through the improvement of national planning.

“The Government will be able to use the information to appropriately meet the needs of the population based on trends observed from data gathered. For example, an increase in births would indicate whether more schools or hospitals are needed,” she explained.

She noted that a digital system will outline patterns in death, marriage and adoption which can help government agencies to develop strategies to address social problems in the country.

The RGD Head said that any investment in the project is an investment  in the development of Jamaica.

Mrs. English Gosse pointed out that the agency has records from as far back as the 1700s, and that digitization began in 1994.

She explained that the process to have all birth, adoption, marriage and death records uploaded to a database is a significant move that will ensure that the records are secured and stored in the most effective way.

The CEO is encouraging institutions such as the HEART Trust/NTA, National Youth Service (NYS), Universities and Community Colleges to invest in internship programmes to assist with the staff required to make the project a success.

The digitization of records in Jamaica and the Caribbean will be one of the topics to be discussed at the RGD’s inaugural Civil Registration and Identity Management Conference to be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James from July 6 to 8.