JIS News

An initiative between the Organisation of American States (OAS) and Jamaica’s Registrar General’s Department (RGD), which should improve the vital records capability of six Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) states, has been confirmed by OAS Representative in Jamaica, Dr. Joan Neil.
“The project has to do with the fundamental reform of the civil registry systems of six OECS selected states. We recognise that the RGD of Jamaica has a very high performance record and they are regarded as a best practitioner in the registration of the vital statistics of a nation,” Dr. Neil elaborated.
She was speaking at a JIS Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service’s head office in Kingston on Wednesday (March 31).
Dr. Neil said that the OAS is pleased that the RGD has agreed to the collaboration on this “very significant and important initiative.”
She added that it was very important that organisations such as the RGD and the OAS recognise the importance of ‘horizontal co-operation’. The cooperation will result in the replication of the work being done by the RGD, in other countries which do not have the advanced systems and technology that the RGD employs.
“In this day and age of international citizenship, you are only a person if you are recognised in your country, in that country’s systems that are validated by the procedures and practices of that system,” Dr. Neil said.
“We are delighted that Jamaica is going to be the best practitioner that will drive this initiative, that will bring other Caribbean countries of the OAS into the fold of state-of-the-art registration of the vital statistics of a country,” she noted.
Caribbean Co-ordinator of the Universal Civil Identity Project of the Americas projects for the OAS, which deals with the modernisation of civil registries, Washington D.C. -based Paul Hughes, said that the project will begin with the OECS sub-region and includes St. Kitts, Antigua, Dominica, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Grenada.
“I am here in Jamaica to observe what is being done at the RGD, which is very advanced to what a 21st century organisation should look like and how it should be run. We are trying to duplicate these efforts throughout the OECS,” Mr. Hughes said.
He stated that he was surprised by the number of persons who use the RGD’s facilities on a daily basis, and suggested that what is being done here could be easily duplicated throughout the region.
“What is being done here in Jamaica with the RGD, with an almost 100 per cent capture of vital statistics, will prove very beneficial to states that are on basic manual systems,” he stated.
Mr. Hughes said that the technology used by the RGD to capture vital records will be used along with the technology that it employs. This will be vital not only to the countries, but also to donor agencies, such as the OAS, the World Bank and the European Union, that look for ways to help countries.
He said that these organisations look at the vital records of a country as an indicator of where to donate new facilities, such as schools, in response to an increase in population indicated by a country’s vital records. He said that without these records, it is almost impossible for governments to plan or predict what will be needed in the future.
“Resources are scarce and have to be budgeted far in advance, so this information is very vital to planners,” he added.

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