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JAMAICA | AG Malahoo-Forte differs with Gov't on NIDS Judgement

Featured Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte is not in agreement with the government's decision not to appeal the Constitutional Court ruling on the controversial National Identification and Registration Act. Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte is not in agreement with the government's decision not to appeal the Constitutional Court ruling on the controversial National Identification and Registration Act.
KINGSTON, June 25, 2019 - Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte differed sharply with the Cabinet on Tuesday, as she told the Parliament she was not in agreement with the government's decision not to appeal the Constitutional Court ruling on the controversial National Identification and Registration Act.
 
On April 12, the court ruled that the law to set up the National Identification system (NIDS) was unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
 
But on Tuesday afternoon, Mrs Malahoo Forte, who represented the government in the case, told the House of Representatives that many questions remain unanswered in relation to the case.
 
The Attorney General pointed out that "the Supreme Court does not have the final say on Jamaican law," and  suggested the matter should have gone to appeal.
 
"There are many curious aspects of the judgment that, to my mind, should properly be reviewed by the higher courts, and I just cite by example, a judge relying on so called expert evidence, not lrd in a case on which he maked findings of fact, without submission, and I could cite other things, But since the government has taken the policy decision not to appeal, I will say no more at this time," she declared.
 
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has said instructions have been issued for the drafting of a new bill. He said the new bill should be tabled in parliament by September with the intention of having it passed by November.
 
In the meantime, Parliamentary Secretary, Senator Robert Morgan, says the Government will continue consultations and education about the benefits of the National Identification System (NIDS).

“There’s no law for NIDS now, but there’s still a policy and the obligation of the Government is to continue to advise people about its intention and what its plans are,” he said.

Discussions focused on the future of NIDS in light of the Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that rendered the enabling legislation, which was passed in Parliament in 2017, null and void. Other areas addressed were data protection and personal privacy.

Mr. Morgan who was addressing a National Cyber Security Conference at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters recently,  said that NIDS is designed to provide Jamaica with a secure, reliable and accountable identification solution.

“We have a myriad of what you’d cal=l identification documents (passport, driver’s licence and a voter’s ID) but we do not have a national identification,” he noted.

He said that NIDS will also identify people in the society with particular needs, prevent identity theft, provide authentic identity, ensure a unified system across Government and improve ease of doing business.

Mr. Morgan said that NIDS had its genesis in 1982, where a committee was set up under the leadership of JAG Smith to look into the establishment of a national system of identification. He said that a lot of the recommendations from that committee were reflected in the 2017 Bill.

Last modified onTuesday, 25 June 2019 22:11
  • Countries: Jamaica

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