The landmark National Identification Bill has now been approved by both Houses of Parliament.
The House of Representatives last night (November 21) approved the 168 amendments to the Bill made by the Senate.
It is expected to be gazetted and signed by the Governor General in the coming days to become law.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness who spoke on the Bill in Parliament said the Government has listened to the concerns of Jamaicans.
The Government has removed the imposition of a prison sentence for persons who do not have a National ID.
He said Clause 20 of the bill which also generated much public discussion, which provides for a fine of $100,000.00 if one does not comply, will be at the discretion of the judiciary.
“I don’t want to appear to be insensitive to the considerations that have been placed in the public domain, and as a result of that though there is a fine $100,000.00 is a maximum, the Judge can use their discretion and I’m expecting that the Judge would. We have removed the option of imprisonment, totally removed it,” announced the Prime Minister.
In addition, Prime Minister Holness also indicated that consideration will be given to persons with sensitive health issues.
“I am sensitive to the issue and I am going to look into it to ensure that there is no policy in place that could anyway deprive them because it is a serious issue,” added Mr Holness.
In specific relation to Clause 41, he said: “Government made sure to write in a protection in the event of health or something that is life-threatening or a natural disaster or a national emergency. Then the system of presenting a National Identification Card would be suspended.”
The Prime Minister urged Jamaicans to not be misinformed on the National Identification System, but rather to get the facts.
Mr Holness asserted that the level of hypocrisy, dishonesty and misinformation is not good for our country.
“We cannot continue to look at the Jamaican state as the enemy of the people. I am not the enemy of the people. And it is time that we reject that idea. Yes, there must be strong voices to ensure that government does not go astray but we cannot start on the assumption that when we stand here to pass legislation we are passing legislation to deprive people of rights,” said the Prime Minister.
A website has been set to give factual information about the National Identification System (NIDS).
Members of the public may log on to www.nidsfacts.com