First Look

Civil Registration & Identity Management key to fighting crime

IDB | 2016-07-08 00:00:00

Identity Management Needed to Address Lotto Scamming Scourge, Say Senior Jamaican Officials

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and senior leaders of Jamaica’s executive and judicial branches, as well as officials from various other Caribbean regional jurisdictions and organizations, including the Pan-American Health Organization and 21 Civil Registrars from across the region, inaugurated the Caribbean Civil Registration and Identity Management Conference on July 7.

This conference is being led by Jamaica’s Registrar General’s Department in collaboration with the IDB and is taking place in the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James on July 7 and July 8.

Therese Turner-Jones, the IDB’s representative for Jamaica and General Manager for the IDB’s Caribbean Country Department, noted that, “identity rights are central to development and important for improving people’s lives throughout the region.” She said that “the establishment of a unique national identification system is crucial to link birth and death records, reduce the opportunity for fraud and strengthen immigration and border control management, public safety and national security.”

Turner-Jones added that a strengthened identity management system could help to address crime and violence in Jamaica, particularly as it relates to lotto scamming in Montego Bay.

The Hon. Zaila McCalla, Chief Justice of Jamaica also noted the importance of identity and managing crime. She said an effective identity system is an important tool, especially “in these days of technology, these are also the days of identity theft, of fraudulent transactions in probate and land transaction and the challenge in dealing with lotto scamming cases.”

Citing key findings in IDB studies on civil registration and national identity management, Chief Justice McCalla, who is also keeper of official records in Jamaica, commended the IDB for supporting the staging of this inaugural conference and highlighted the importance of encouraging dialogue and sharing best practices on civil registration and identity management. Justice McCalla emphasized that, “the way forward is making sure that the information captured guides our decisions. Without a doubt, effective civil registration management is the foundation for having legal identity of all the citizen of a country.”

State Minister in the Ministry of Finance Fayval Williams pointed to the fiscal gains to be made from implementing a National Identification System. Minister Williams made reference to the evidence from other countries where the IDB has supported the implementation of a National Identification System, which show that Jamaica could save as much as 1% GDP stemming from savings from improved efficiency and accountability in the delivery of public sector services and programmes. Minister Williams added that her Ministry supports the implementation of the National Identification System and that the country is ready to start the process.

Since 2002, the IDB has funded numerous projects to promote a culture of efficient and timely birth registration in the region, by strengthening the civil registry institutions and facilitating national and regional dialogues with Governments. The Bank has also conducted research to qualify and quantify under-reporting and lack of documentation, and there is already a number of publications available.

In terms of a national identification system, the IDB has supported the Government of Jamaica’s extensive work on the development of a National Identification System (NIDS) since 2008. The NIDS will become Jamaica’s primary source of a unique, reliable and secure method of authenticating an individual’s identity for all Jamaican citizens and other permanent residents of Jamaica. .

Posted By :Elba Agusti

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