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Cayman Islands advances on digital ID plan as cabinet okays draft bill

Cayman Islands advances on digital ID plan as cabinet okays draft bill

The window is now open for public comments on two digital ID-related bills in the Cayman Islands after they were recently approved by cabinet and published in the official gazette.

One of the bills lays the framework for the implementation of the country’s digital ID ecosystem, which moves it a step closer to realization. The other provides for the establishment of a national register of persons.

In an article by Loop News, the Minister for Investment, Innovation and Social Development André Ebanks is quoted as saying the two bills — the Identification Register Bill and the Cayman Island Identification Card Bill – are part of an ongoing process to modernize governance in the country and bring it up to speed with 21st century technology trends.

He said the draft legislations will not only bring innovation to business transactions, but will also facilitate the way Caymanians access public services both with government and private business entities.

Emphasizing the importance of digital ID, Tamara Ebanks, acting chief officer at the Investment ministry said, as quoted: “The national digital ID program will aid greatly in retaining and augmenting the competitiveness of the Cayman Islands as a globally respected financial services and innovation center of excellence. It will enhance government’s capability to serve its customers, our residents, with proven technology utilized with great success.”

She further explained that while the digital ID bill provides for a single identification document, it will also save time and reduce some of the inconveniences that hitherto existed in carrying out public transactions with government.

“The digital identity also provides a necessary framework for future growth and innovation for Government, as well as private sector employment and entrepreneurship. It provides an individual with a means to prove their identity through a verifiable and secure electronic process,” Ebanks says, according to Loop News.

The official responsible for the digital government unit at the ministry, Ian Tibbettes, also praised the adoption of the bill by cabinet, saying “investment in digital infrastructure will be a catalyst for creating a truly connected, modern and dynamic Cayman Islands.”

About the bills

The first draft legislation is dubbed ‘A bill for an Act to provide for the issuance and use of an official identification document in the Cayman Islands, and for incidental and connected purposes.’

Drafted in seven parts and 37 clauses, the legislation in preliminary form outlines details on the Cayman Islands identification card, procedures to obtain it, information protection and confidentiality, and many other aspects related to the ID.

The document supports face biometrics, as applicants will need to appear at issuance centers in person to be photographed, according to Clause 5 (2) (b) of the bill.

The other text is ‘A bill for an Act to provide for the establishment, management and oversight of a register for the identification of persons, and for incidental and connected purposes.’

It defines what the Cayman Islands identification register is, the role of the registrar, issues of access and confidentiality, as well as other related general issues.

Public comments on the two bills are expected by 4 December at the latest, officials say, and they can be submitted via the website of the responsible ministry.

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