The absence of a national identification – which would cover all citizens – is among the ills that the National Identification System (NIDS) is seeking to cure. According to the Government’s website for NIDS (https://www.nidsfacts.com/):
“A secure national identification system for Jamaica has the potential to positively transform the efficiency and transparency of interactions between the state and the citizens and residents with significant additional positive effects for private businesses. The National Identification System (NIDS), when implemented, will provide a safe, convenient and reliable means for persons to prove their identity while aiding in the furtherance of the digitalisation of Government, which is expected to reduce bureaucracy and encourage efficiency and accountability in the public sector. Additionally, when government and private sector transactions are based on a secure National Identification Number (NIN), supported by a National Identification Card (NIC); crimes such as identity theft, fraud, trafficking in persons and other crimes related to identity and property will be significantly reduced.”
While discussions around a National Registration System have been happening from as far back as the 1970’s, progress towards its implementation has accelerated in the past five (5) years. The current Bill has benefitted from the deliberations of a Joint Select Committee, which accepted submissions – on the 2020 version of the Bill – from a wide range of individuals and organisations. This is in contrast to the 2017 Bill, which was passed in controversial circumstances, and without debate in the lower house of Parliament. That Act was later the subject of a constitutional challenge, brought by opposition MP Julian Robinson. The court found that there was a violation of the Constitutional rights to privacy and that the justification given by the Government did not meet the Constitutional standards – leading them to declare the law null and void.
First Tabled: 07/20/2021
Status: In Progress
St. Andrew West Central (JLP)