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Jamaica parliament soon to receive draft digital ID regulation for scrutiny

Jamaica parliament soon to receive draft digital ID regulation for scrutiny

Plans are being finalized to send the draft regulation on Jamaica’s digital ID program to the country’s parliament for examination and possible endorsement.

In the next few weeks, members of the House of Representatives will receive the proposed legislation on the National Identification System (NIDS), according to remarks by a government minister on Radio Jamaica.

The government had last year pledged to factor in proposals from the public regarding the draft text.

Senator Dr. Dana Morris Dixon, minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, with oversight for Skills and Digital Transformation, said in her remarks that the regulations set out the appropriate framework to govern the NIDS.

She highlighted the security aspect of the legislation saying it will help in dissipating fears and lack of trust which Jamaicans have about the national digital ID.

“This is a very big kind of digital project for Jamaica. We know that we are in a low trust environment in our country. And we also know that there are many Jamaicans who may be afraid of this digital change or even having this kind of national ID. so it is very important that through the regulations that govern everything that we do, that the security element is very strong,” said Dixon, as quoted.

Speaking about the importance of the ID, Dixon commented that it will facilitate the way people have access to important services, and it will take the country very far in terms of increasing financial inclusion because the ID will make it possible for more bank accounts to be opened.

She also explained that the legislation also makes it possible for individuals to get notifications if their identity is being verified by any authorized verifying entity.

Jamaican authorities had hoped to introduce the digital ID in the first quarter of this year.

Civil registration reforms linked to NIDS

Meanwhile, last month, an official said ongoing reforms within the country’s civil status registration system are powered by and linked to the NIDS project.

Speaking at a recent Think tank event, the Chief Executive Officer of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), Charlton McFarlane, mentioned that as part of the RGD modernization plan, they seek to digitize over 2.4 million birth, marriage and death records, Jamaica Observer reports, citing Jamaica Information Service (JIS).

He also said birth certificates will be required for obtaining the NIDS, which means that the RGD will have to work in a timelier and more efficient manner.

McFarlane called the collaboration between the RGD and NIDS a “close-knit relationship, and the efficiencies to be had with the digitisation of records will, in fact, add to efficiencies in the NIDS project as it relates to enrolment for the NIDS card and also the production of same.”

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