Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness made an official announcement on September 9, 2022, concerning the “Operation Birthright” project of the National Identification System (NIDS). The project, which will be implemented at a cost of US$350,000, is designed to address the concerns of Jamaicans who do not have birth certificates. It has been reported that about 200,000 Jamaican citizens do not have legal proof of their identity.
Operation Birthright will provide identity registration support for birth certificates, with a focus on needy children and adults who have no legal and physical ID documentation. Once they have a birth certificate, these individuals will have an easier time accessing government and business services.
Those eligible for the program may be recommended for it by several institutions in Jamaica, including the head of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities; senior officials at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development; Members of Parliament; Justices of the Peace; and public officers. Medical practitioners, religious ministers, police officers, parish councilors, dental surgeons, official representatives of the Missionaries of the Poor, the CEO/Coordinator of a registered civil society organization, the head of the Program of Advancement via Health and Education (PATH), and others, may also make such recommendations.
In his announcement on September 9, Holness said it was critical for every Jamaican to have access to a birth certificate as it allows the State to serve them better. With access to and ownership of a birth certificate, every Jamaican will be able to register under NIDS when it is introduced. Holness added that his administration is committed to developing a digital society that benefits every Jamaican.
Floyd Green, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, said Operation Birthright is the first comprehensive approach by the government in finding the nation’s most vulnerable undocumented citizens and giving them a free birth certificate. The NIDS will provide a secure and complete structure that will facilitate the collection and storage of ID information. It will be able to verify a person’s identity and allow them to sign documents electronically and securely to access various government services online.
Photo – JIS