Private sector groups want new NIDS

April 15, 2019
Justice Bryan Sykes
Justice Bryan Sykes

Three powerful private sector groups yesterday urged the Government and the Opposition to work together and come up with a replacement for NIDS.

Last Friday, the Constitutional Court has struck down the National Identification and Registration Act. Some US$68 million was earmarked for the implementation of the National Identification and Registration System (NIDS), which the Government said was a crucial crime-fighting and doing-business tool.

The landmark ruling was handed down by the Full Court comprising Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, Justice Lisa Palmer Hamilton and Justice David Batts. In delivering the judgment, Justice Sykes said certain aspects relating to privacy issues such as the requirement for people to submit biometric information is a breach of persons' constitutional rights to privacy.

Commenting on the development, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, and the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association said in a joint statement that a national registration system is important in modernising the country and ensuring that each citizen is accounted.

"As it appears that there is political consensus as to the necessity for implementing a national identification law, we strongly urge both political parties to immediately commence consultations, with a view to settling the contentious differences in the legislation and avoiding the provisions which offend our constitution, so as to return a bill to the house and enable a smooth and early passage," the groups said.

"We call upon the leaders of both political parties to set aside any temptation to continue to contest this subject in the sectarian political arena and act to ensure that Jamaica receives not only the full benefit of the financial support to implement the identification system, but the early and valuable improvements that effective legislation will bring to our citizens in their personal and business endeavours," the groups said.

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