As the government moves to implement a National Identification System (NIDS), Prime Minister Andrew Holness has emphasized that this initiative will have a positive transformative effect on Jamaica.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the NIDS will translate to improved international standings and credibility for the country and will be the gateway to become a digital economy. It will also support the ease of doing business.
He was making his contribution to the debate on the National Identification and Registration Bill, in the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday, June 13. The Bill was tabled in Parliament on June 6, 2017.
The prime minister underscored the need for a national identification system that can uniquely and reliably verify the identity of Jamaican citizens.
“Perhaps never before has it been so important for an individual to establish his identity. We live in a technological world where ‘fakes’ abound. Not least of which is the ability of criminals who are ‘tech savvy’ to create fake identities and to use those fake identities to commit crimes and in some cases create duplications in the private and public sector,” he explained.
Mr Holness noted that the establishment of a National Identification System will also allow for the generation of real-time statistical information for decision making and planning.
“I want to assure the people of Jamaica and those ordinarily resident here that the identification information they provide will be accorded the highest level of safety and security in accordance with international security standards for collecting, storing and securing mission critical information,” said Prime Minister Holness.
He added that: “Appropriate technological systems and standard operating procedures will be put in place to restrict access to the information we store and only individuals authorised under the law will be able to obtain that information. The core biometric information will be used for identity verification purposes only and will not be transferable to anyone.”
The National Identification System project, spearheaded by the Office of the Prime Minister commenced in 2011. It will see the enrolment and registration of all citizens and persons ordinarily resident in the island and the creation of a National Identification Number (NIN) for each person. A National Identification Card will also be issued.
The Registrar General’s Department will be transformed into the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), and the NIRA will have responsibility for the functions of both civil and identity management, that is, the National Identification System.