NIDS Bill To Be Passed Before Year End

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says his administration anticipates that the National Identification System (NIDS) will become law by December.

“We would like before the end of the year, this year, that we should be seeking to pass the bill into law,” Holness said.

He was speaking during today’s sitting of the House of Representatives.

The prime minister noted that in April this year, a significant landmark was achieved when Cabinet approved the new voluntary National Identification and Registration Policy. He noted substantial changes in the new policy, including voluntary enrolment under NIDS and the use of minimum biometrics which are fingerprints, a facial image and manual signature only.

Holness said the new National Identification and Registration Bill is completed, and the NIDS Policy Committee, along with the Legislation Committee (a Sub-Committee of Cabinet), will review the Bill.

He made the point that the Government is fully cognizant of and sensitive to the legitimate concerns that people have regarding data protection and privacy, and said the administration is committed to putting in place the legislative, technological, and independent oversight mechanisms to ensure that individual rights are respected and protected.

“This Government intends to embrace a collaborative approach through the traditional process of getting the legislation passed,” the prime minister said.

He said the Government will also provide an online forum on NIDSFACTS.COM for all Jamaicans to comment on the Bill.

“Once the Bill is tabled in Parliament, a Joint Select Committee will be put in place to navigate the deliberations to arrive at a satisfactory National Identification and Registration Bill. Stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including civil society groups, will be able to comment and provide insights during the Joint Select Committee deliberations,” Holness said.

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