Sun | May 26, 2024

Registering for NIDS is voluntary – Dixon

Published:Saturday | April 20, 2024 | 12:07 AM
Senator Dr Dana Morris Dixon.
Senator Dr Dana Morris Dixon.

Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Skills and Digital Transformation, Senator Dr Dana Morris Dixon, is reminding Jamaicans that registering for the national identification system (NIDS) is a voluntary exercise.

NIDS, an electronic form of identification, will provide a comprehensive and secure database for capturing and storing the personal information of citizens and non-nationals ordinarily resident in Jamaica, that is, someone who has lived in Jamaica continuously for six months or more.

“The law is very clear that no one has to get this. It is on a voluntary basis, so the government will never say that you have to do it or if you don’t do it, there is a fine or there is any kind of threat of arrest. That is absolutely false and so anyone who sees WhatsApp messages like this going around really need to delete them. And also to inform the person who has sent it that this is false information. We’re seeing this more and more in our country and generally in the world too,” the minister said.

Dr Morris Dixon was speaking at Wednesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.

She was responding to a message being circulated on WhatsApp about the national identification system.

“There is a WhatsApp that is circulating with a lot of misinformation and disinformation, and it is really very disconcerting to see WhatsApps like this. It speaks to a host of falsities about NIDS and the programme and they have to be dispelled,” she said.

Dr Morris Dixon also refuted claims that persons who do not sign up for the NIDS not be able to access government services.

“We see these efforts at misinformation and disinformation. And it is very important that we counter it, and so I say it this morning that there is absolutely no truth to what has been put in this WhatsApp that says that if you do not have your NIDS ID you cannot access government services. Government services are the right of every single Jamaican, and so there would never be any attempt to try to have persons be kept away from government services due to a new national ID. That is completely false,” she said.

She noted, as well, that persons will not be fined for not having the national identification.

“That will never happen because, again, the law is very, very, very clear that this is a voluntary exercise. Of course we think that there will be benefits from having this ID that has all of the information embedded in it and you can verify it, and has all these security features attached to it. And over time, we expect that people will see that it is making their lives easier; but that is always on a voluntary basis as per the law,” Senator Morris Dixon said.

She also urged persons to not only desist from sharing misinformation but also discourage others from doing the same.

Senator Morris Dixon said the NIDS has been in train for a very long time.

“We have spoken about a national ID and the need for one that can be verified from the 1970s, and it may even predate that. And so after all these years and all these discussions, we’re finally at the moment where we have this national ID that is easily verifiable,” she said.

“And so, one of the key things that we need to note in terms of the buildout of NIDS is that it has been done with trust at the centre of it. So, everything that is done in relation to data sharing or verification, that is done with each individual citizen being absolutely aware of what has happened,” she said.

The government intends to complete and launch phase one of the National Identification System (NIDS) enrolment and issuance of national identification cards during the 2024/25 financial year.

This will be done through a $1.3-billion allocation for the National Identification for Economic Growth Project.