No national consultation, no NIDS!

Letters to the Editor

No national consultation, no NIDS!

Friday, November 29, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!

Dear Editor,

Many Jamaicans were concerned with both the hasty process and corruptible content of the national identification system (NIDS) legislation of 2017. Recent announcements by Prime Minister Andrew Holness that stakeholders are reviewing the new NIDS proposal which will shortly arrive in Parliament likely in April 2020.

The Government claims they are ensuring that they meet the standards set by the Supreme Court. Reeling from the trauma of having such a horrible law rushed through Parliament, and the Government's abject failure at the hands of the Supreme Court — which highlighted just how horrible the law was — it is logical that the people are even more apprehensive now than previously.

It is clear that the people of Jamaica want more consultation than took place last time. Neither Government promises nor private stakeholder review was able to safeguard the human rights of Jamaicans in 2017, and there is no reason to believe it will now. We do not want to be told what is best for us and to be fast fed modernisation. We want to be treated like the intelligent human beings we are and engaged in a meaningful national discussion. Had a joint select committee been engaged when we called for it in 2017, the process would have been long completed by now.

Two years ago, over 40,000 Jamaicans signed a petition calling for the issue to go to a joint select committee. That was ignored then, and is being ignored now.

Why is there such an insistence on a rush? Are there no lessons to be learnt from past failures?

Former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller underestimated the power of the people in 2016 when she failed to ascend the stairwell of democratic discussion prior to the last election. But if the current prime minister can't learn from his own mistakes, how will he learn from the mistakes of others? And what about the mistakes that other countries made with their versions of national identification systems?

At the end of the day, if the people are not consulted properly, there will be no NIDS. He might as well start giving the $9 billion of unjustified debt back to the Inter-American Development Bank from now. Are transparency and national consultation really that hard?

If NIDS will make such a huge difference in our lives, as Holness says, shouldn't we have the right to analyse, draw conclusions, and give suggestions?

Dr Daniel Thomas


Love March Movement

ColourBlind Campaign

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon