JIS News

Officials from the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) will head to the United States (US) from November 9 to 30 to assist Jamaicans in the Diaspora to secure birth, death and marriage certificates. This visit is part of the RGD’s Mobile Outreach Programme.
The team, along with other agencies, will participate in the Jamaica Business and Legal Link town hall meetings in Port St. Lucie, Miami and Fort Lauderdale from November 9 to 11. The meetings are intended to provide professional services to Jamaicans living in these areas, who are otherwise unable to readily access a number of services back home.
Speaking with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer of the RGD, Dr. Patricia Holness, noted that while at the town hall meetings, the RGD will be concentrating on cases where customers are interested in having their father’s particulars added to their birth certificates.
November 18 marks the beginning of the agency’s annual overseas outreach at the Jamaican Consulate in Miami. The two-day outreach, which will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day, will provide face-to-face civil registration services to Jamaicans living in Miami.From November 21 to 26, the team will head to the Jamaican Consulate in Atlanta and then on to the Jamaican Consulate in New York from November 27 to 30.
While overseas, the team will accept applications for birth, marriage and death certificates, as well as allow persons to conduct genealogical researches and general record updating activities such as adding of father’s particulars, correction of error, late entry of name and deed polls.
“We will also be doing online searches. There are many individuals who are not able to provide an entry number for the birth certificate or death certificate and through our online search, we will be able to assist them in finding the entry number or the name of the marriage officer in the case of the marriage certificate,” the CEO informed.
She noted further that “many older Jamaicans who are living overseas may have a birth certificate with only their Christian name and they are unable to use this certificate because a surname is required. We will have to guide them as to how they can have this corrected and also ensure that all the documents that they have are in agreement.”
Dr. Holness said that the response over the years from the customers and other members of the Jamaican community has been overwhelmingly positive, with many requesting that the RGD return to the US and for a longer period, to allow others to experience the satisfaction of having their difficult cases resolved.
“We have been able to make it convenient for our customers. They have the opportunity to ask questions and we normally have an educational session where we inform them of the various services that we offer at the RGD,” she told JIS News.
In the meantime, the CEO urged those who will be attending the outreach meetings to ensure that they take along with them the necessary supporting documents in order to have their application satisfied.
She also gave the assurance that the team will be able to provide all the services that are offered in Jamaica while overseas. “If someone makes an application for express services, we should be able to produce it like we do in Jamaica within three hours and send it to our courier the following day,” she noted.
Commenting on plans to extend the overseas outreach to other countries, the CEO noted that such a plan is not feasible at this time. “We have been going to Canada, USA and the United Kingdom over the years and a number of Jamaicans in other countries have been asking us to visit with them but we are looking at other innovative ways of helping these individuals especially where it is not cost effective to take a team, because in addition to offering the service, we would want it to be economically viable to do so,” she said.
The last time the RGD team was in the US, more than 200 applications were satisfied.

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