JIS News

The number of Jamaicans in the United Kingdom (UK) who have applied for documents from the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) this year has increased significantly.
According to Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of the RGD, Dr. Patricia Holness, the team visited London, Manchester and Birmingham between March 26 and March 31 this year, where the applications were made through the Department’s outreach programme.
Speaking at a JIS Think Tank session held at the agency’s headquarters on Half-Way-Tree Road on July 1, Dr. Holness noted, “For the United Kingdom, we found there was quite an outstanding outturn.a 200 per cent increase in the number of individuals who would normally attend our outreach sessions.”
Explaining, she said, “We had enlisted an individual in the UK who promoted our visit, as well as the British High Commissioner’s office. With their social outreach, they also advertised our visit and we were able to receive applications from 313 individuals.”
The CEO informed that so far the RGD has satisfied more than 91 per cent of the applicants. She revealed that those applicants who have not yet received their documents include some who do not have surnames on their original birth records.
“Some persons, who were born during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, especially if their parents were not married, do not have a last name on their birth records,” she explained.
“What is unfortunate is that these persons are operating in their normal lives with a name which they refer to as their surname, although it is not on our records,” Dr. Holness said.
She added that this applies to many Jamaicans who migrated to the United Kingdom. Dr. Holness told JIS News that these migrants were able to secure passports at that time because it was then possible to use other methods to show that the surname they used is actually theirs. She also said some Jamaicans travelled at a time when neither a passport nor a supporting birth certificate was required for entry to some countries.
Giving more details of the nature of the applications, she pointed out that two of the cases encountered in the UK were for death certificates, which required a coroner’s certificate – a Form ‘D’ – needed to identify the preliminary cause of death so the RGD can register the death and issue a death certificate. The presence of a death certificate has legal implications, as it is needed to support the probate of wills and ensure the payment of insurance, among other things.
In the meantime, two persons who applied for birth certificates during the UK visit had fake documents, which the CEO indicated, “were created elsewhere.”
“When we checked our systems, the numbers on the certificates referred to other persons,” she added.
Thirteen of the cases had errors, such as mothers not signing the original document and fathers entering their particulars in the area reserved for ‘informant’ instead of under the section reserved for ‘father’. This creates problems for children, who go through life believing that their father’s name is on the certificate, only to realize later that technically this is not so.
“Yes the father’s name and signature may be on the birth certificate,” Dr. Holness pointed out, “but since he signed as informant this is not a proof of paternity,” Dr. Holness reminded.