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Private sector groups offer assistance with improving NIDS Act

Sunday, April 14, 2019

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Kingston, Jamaica — Three private sector groups are urging the Government to review the National Identification and Registration (NIDS) Act, which was struck down in its entirety in the Constitutional Court on Friday.

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), the Jamaica Chamber Of Commerce (JCC) and the Jamaica Manufacturers And Exporters Association (JMEA), in a joint statement today, also offered their assistance with improving the legislation.

The groups said they respectfully accept the unanimous ruling of the court, but noted that the objectives of the Act are still of importance and there is pollical consensus that its implementation is necessary.

In the judgment delivered by Chief Justic Bryan Sykes, the court ruled that the provisions that were challenged by People's National Party (PNP) General Secretary, Julian Robinson are in fact unconstitutional, and what remained could not stand on their own.

"Having declared some of the provisions in violation of the Charter, we are of the view that what was left in the NIDS Act could not stand. Therefore, the entire NIDS Act is to be declared null and void and of no legal effect," said Sykes.

Robinson had requested several declarations from the court on the basis that certain provisions of the Act abrogates, abridges and infringes particular rights outlined in the Constitution of Jamaica.

The private sector groups said: “while the court has properly invalidated the particular legislation, the underlying broad policy objectives that were sought to be achieved are still of great significance and urgent import in modernising our Jamaican society and ensuring that each citizen is accounted for in our advancement towards the achievement of vision 2030”.

They are now urging both political parties to immediately begin discussions to settle the combative differences in the legislation and avoiding the provisions which offend our constitution, so as to return a bill to the house and enable a smooth and early passage.

“We respectfully submit that this matter is obviously one which must surpass partisan considerations if the interest of all Jamaicans is to be served,” said the PSOJ, JCC and JMEA.

The groups further called upon the leaders of both political parties to set aside any temptation to continue to contest the Act in the intolerant political arena and act to ensure that Jamaica receives not only the full benefit of the financial support to implement the identification system, but the early and valuable improvements that effective legislation will bring to our citizens in their personal and business endeavours.

“To the extent that we can be of any assistance whatsoever to assist in achieving the above objective, we place ourselves at the disposal of the respective leadership.

“Jamaica is watching how this outcome will be managed by our political parties as the opportunity to set an example of mature and committed leadership should not be missed,” the statement ended.


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