Members of the diaspora and non-Jamaicans who wish to do business in the country for six months or more, will be required to register under the new National Identification System (NIDS).
According to Chief Technical Director in the Office of the Prime Minister, Jacqueline Lynch-Stewart, this will become effective in 2019 after NIDS is fully rolled out.
Addressing a town hall meeting on the NIDS at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, recently, she advised that persons who are not citizens, “but they live here and they’ve been here for six months or more and they’re doing business, they, too, will be required to apply for a national identification number and card”.
She pointed out that like Jamaicans, a nine-digit National Identification Number (NIN) will be assigned to these persons.
“The NIN stays with you for life. Upon death, it is deactivated on the database, but it is never ever given to anybody else to use, so you have that one number that you will use for your entire life,” Mrs. Lynch-Stewart explained.
She reiterated that the system will be trustworthy and of international standards, which Jamaicans living in the diaspora and non-Jamaicans can rely on.
“The law also provides for us to use international best practices for security and privacy issues. The law restricts what can be disclosed to people about you and me. Section 43 of the law provides that the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) shall not disclose identity information stored in the database about any individual, except where the information is disclosed pursuant to the request of the individual. What does that mean? Each of us can give permission for the information to be disclosed,” Mrs. Lynch-Stewart said.
Following the implementation of NIDS, Jamaican citizens and legal residents will require only one ID to guarantee freedom of access to government and private-sector services. This is to ensure the safety and security of their identities while improving their quality of life through boosting efficiency and reducing costs.
The roll-out of NIDS is slated to begin with a pilot project in January 2019 focusing on civil servants. The layered roll-out and management of the NIDS will be handled by the NIRA, which will replace the Registrar General’s Department (RGD).