JIS News

Minister of Health, the Hon Rudyard Spencer, has congratulated the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) on the commissioning of a voice over internet protocol (VOIP) telephony system, which makes available 110 new telephone lines for customers.
“Today, the Registrar General’s Department is pleased to inform the public that the new telephone system will be officially opened, and landline telephone service is now available at all its locations,” Mr. Spencer said.
He was speaking at a function at the Twickenham Park head office of the RGD, Spanish Town, at which the US$158,000 system was officially declared open and made available to the public on Friday (April 5).
“This new system will not only improve their telecommunication capacity, but enhance their customer service delivery,” the Minister told the audience.
He pointed out that each year, the RGD serves over 250,000 Jamaicans and the new service will provide greater accessibility to services.
“We commend the RGD on this noteworthy achievement, and pray for their continued success, as they continue to serve the Jamaican people both locally and in the Diaspora,” he added.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the RGD, Dr. Patricia Holness, praised the staff, as well as Illuminat Jamaica, for partnering to effect the new technology, which allows telephone calls to be made using broadband internet.
“Today marks another chapter in the life of the Registrar General’s Department,” Dr. Holness said, as she traced the path that led to this new milestone for the RGD.
She explained that, in September 2007, the RGD’s PBX system at the head office was damaged by lightening, during a thunder storm, and the Department lost over 85 lines. An assessment by Cable & Wireless Limited showed that it was better to replace the damaged equipment than to repair it, and a study of the VOIP technology was conducted.
“The Agency determined that this technology would be ideal for fulfilling its telephone communication needs, for now and beyond,” she explained.
In April, 2008, the Agency invited individuals to submit tender proposals to assess their ability to design and implement a solution. At the end of the process, Illuminat Jamaica Limited was awarded the contract at a cost of US$158, 000.
The system has been in place since January 29 and, up to Wednesday (February 3), the Agency carried out a series of tests in which the telephone system successfully handled a total of 3,339 calls – 2,917 incoming and 422 outgoing.
She said that during the first half of the upcoming financial year, which starts on April 1, 2010, the RGD will enhance the system, by allowing customers to use their telephone to interact with its application tracking system.
“They will be able to determine the status of their applications, without having to wait on a customer service representative, and this will be available 24 hours per day, during and after working hours,” she stated.
“The RGD is committed to serve Jamaica. Let me use this opportunity to thank you for your patience as we worked at delivering the solution we have today,” Dr Holness concluded.
Features of new telephone system include:110 telephone lines now available throughout the RGD, with 85 lines connected directly to the head office. Customers can connect to these channels by dialing either 749-0550 (LIME) or 619-1260 (Digicel). RGD’s Digicel number offers 75 of the 85 channels at head office.Over 300 staff members will use over 150 telephone sets, agency wide.Improved accountability and management of the telephone resource: a call accounting system will allow the Agency to distinguish between a private or business calls and inform the payroll system for deductions where necessary. This will also allow the RGD to analyse call trends for decision making purposes.Call forwarding to mobile phones.The new solution will enhance the RGD’s customer service delivery. If all Customer Service Representatives at RGD head offices are attending to customers, the overflow of calls will be routed seamlessly to other regional offices.