JIS News

The Registrar General’s Department (RGD) is working to increase the number of clients accessing its online services from 40 per cent to 60 per cent.

The move comes as the Department looks to strategically shift and enhance the number of services available to Jamaicans on its online platform.

Chief Executive Officer at the RGD, Charlton McFarlane, who spoke to JIS News in a recent interview, said the Department is looking to add a record updating product to its offerings.

“Persons who are applying for an amendment to a record, an amendment to a certificate, those persons normally would have to bring in a lot of documents, such as a letter from a Justice of the Peace, identification (ID) and so forth. What we are putting in place now is the facility to have persons upload those documents from where they are so they don’t have to come in,” he pointed out.

Currently, persons can apply for birth, death and marriage certificates, as well as access to burial orders, electronically at rgd.gov.jm.

The only exception is for birth and death certificates where registration of the event took place within 10 working days prior to the date of application.

Those requests must be done at the RGD Head office at Twickenham Park in St. Catherine or any branch located islandwide.

Another service offered online is the RGD’s Verification Service, which was officially launched in May.

It allows stakeholders, which are mostly government entities, to log on to the RGD portal and verify the information on a certificate that would be presented to them.

Mr. McFarlane said this reduces the usual time it would take for persons to write to the RGD to request verification.

“That would probably take like a three-day turnaround time, but now it is instant. They literally just enter their certificate information, the application number, it hits our system and they get back a verification message then and there.

“So the verification is done similarly to how we verify the burial orders. Again, this is another service that we would have added to our online platform so they don’t have to be sending letters and sending bearers and so to us to verify the authenticity of a document. It’s one of the things we are excited about as we put more and more things on our digital platform,” Mr. McFarlane said.

Meanwhile, the RGD is working to add a streaming service to its wedding registry product.

Mr. McFarlane told JIS News that this is aimed at minimising the number of guests allowed to attend weddings in a single space.

“So, we are looking to stream our weddings on our Facebook and YouTube platforms. We are now in consultations to get the videographer, because we want to have the product at a particular level. The stream would be on the RGD social media pages as well as the personal pages of those getting married,” he explained.

The RGD CEO said streaming would also allow more loved ones and family members to be a part of the proceedings.

“This will immediately increase the number of persons who can participate in this event even more than pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) times, as our registry wedding space was always limited in terms of the capacity to hold a lot of individuals.

“Most times it could accommodate between 20 to 25 persons, but with the ability to stream online, you know a lot more persons, a lot more loved ones, a lot more well-wishers of our customers can participate and share the moment with them,” Mr. McFarlane noted.

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