Wed | Mar 3, 2021

Chuck calls on Jamaicans to support NIDS

Published:Thursday | January 21, 2021 | 4:13 PM
Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck (seated, centre), addresses a Virtual Town Hall Meeting on the National Identification System (NIDS) on January 20. With the Minister are other Members of the Joint Select Committee (contributed photo)

Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck, has called on Jamaicans to support the National Identification System (NIDS), as it will prevent identity theft from affecting hard-working Jamaicans whose information fall into the hands of criminals through cyberspace.

While responding to issues outlined during the third Joint Select Committee on National Identification & Registration Act, 2020, Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, Minister Chuck reiterated the importance for Jamaicans to support the new identification system.

“One of the great benefits of the NIDS identification when it’s actually implemented is that it will avoid identity theft. We have so many Jamaicans now who have suffered from identity theft, and their bank accounts have been depleted, because criminals are able to use, by whatever means, identification that has been stolen,” the Minister said.

“So, with the NIDS identity, probably the best benefit, if I might put it that way, is that the individual will have a unique identity and no one can steal it, and to that extent, it is a benefit that all Jamaicans should appreciate,” said Chuck, who is also Chairman of the Joint Select Committee.

Meanwhile, NIDS Programme Director, Warren Vernon, highlighted that the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency reported over 2,000 cases of passport fraud cases between 2009 and 2019, while the Ministry of National Security would have reported over 400 cases involving identity theft.

“The aggregate losses arising from all bank-related frauds are connected to identity issues, costing the country over $600 million, so yes, the NIDS is significantly different from all other IDs that we have now,” Vernon said.

He also reiterated why the NIDS system is needed.

“The NIDS is unique in the sense that, for the first time, we will have a tool that you can use to verify who you are, you can use it to sign documents securely [and] you can also use it to access services online and in line. It’s also important to note that currently, we have no identification card that can be used by everyone from birth. Most of the identification cards that we have now are really for different segments of the population, but the NIDS is for everyone,” he said.

He added: “We have no national identification card that is free for all to access. There are a lot of persons in the country that don’t have an identification document and most times it is because they can’t afford it. The NIDS is free for everyone.” 

Members of the public are invited to participate by sending in questions by Friday, January 29, along with written comments, to the Joint Select Committee of Parliament on the National Identification and Registration Act, 2020.

Comments may be submitted to Clerk to the Houses, Gordon House, 81 Duke Street, Kingston, or via electronic mail to clerk@japarliament.gov.jm.

The 71-page document for the Act can be downloaded from the Houses of Parliament website at www.japarliament.gov.jm. People making written submissions may be required to appear before the Committee at short notice to explain their submissions.

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