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    Over the next five years, the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) will be moving to boost its database capacity, in order to facilitate easier and ready access to records by persons using the agency’s services, said Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Patricia Holness.
    Speaking at Tuesday’s (May 19) weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of St. Andrew held at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Dr. Holness said that over the five-year period, the RGD will endeavour to have some 60 million records of marriages, births, deaths, and deed polls, among other undertakings, electronically loaded onto its database, as part of long-term plans to improve service to clients. The data being logged incorporates the records for Jamaicans both at home and in the Diaspora.
    “There are different phases to it and we look forward to, in the first phase, capturing data for births and deaths and in the final stage, we will load the data for marriages. Not that marriages are not important but the request for marriage certificates are much lower than those for births,” she outlined.
    The RGD head said requests for death certificates are the lowest, given that a significant number of applicants are unfamiliar with the procedures involved in the application process, noting that public education is pivotal in addressing the anomaly. “We have been conducting over 960 public education outreaches across Jamaica, and we have entered over 560 schools across the island,” she informed.
    Since attaining Executive Agency status on April 1, 1999, the RGD has loaded upwards of 10 million records on its database. Dr. Holness said the records of births have been captured by ensuring that every child born since 1994 has been registered, and the data is “electronically available on our database.”
    One significant feature, which Dr. Holness said, has evolved out of the agency’s attainment of Executive Agency status, is its customer-oriented focus, which involved, among other things, the development of programmes to enhance communication between the agency and its clients. One of the results of this has been the establishment of the express service.
    “I am happy to report that, since 1999, the express and seven-day services have had such demand, with over 80 per cent of our services provided under these two products. We satisfied over 329,000 applicants last year,” she informed.
    She further said that this year, the RGD has moved to make its services more accessible by facilitating online applications. “So individuals, who are interested in applying online, can make a request to us for an entry number of a marriage officer’s name (for example), and we will provide that… free of cost,” she informed.

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