NIDS is no saviour to our self-inflicted problems

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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Dear Editor,

Let me join the thousands of informed Jamaicans against the National Identification System (NIDS), either in part or in its entirety.

Not having or having the NIDS is the least of our pressing problems. What about criminal justice reform, impeachment legislation, enforcement of anti-corruption laws, and the link between money, power and crime. Jamaicans have the propensity to produce and carry fake documents, be it a passport, driver's licence, birth certificate, marriage certificate, gun licence, or tax registration number.

Nowhere in the proposed Bill do I see any safeguard or sanctions for the production, distribution, or the possession of fake NIDS.

The Government is rushing this piece of legislation as if it is a saviour to our many self-inflicted problems. When you push an initiative down the throats of Jamaicans, without consultations, especially when the majority of them believe that the people in authority are corrupt, or have some corrupt motive, it leaves them to wonder if it is in their interest or the country's interest why it is being done.

Why must we trust that this or any Government is acting in our best interest with this piece of legislation? Our prime minister was found by our constitutional court to have acted unconstitutionally in 'Senate saga'. Our attorney general said that for crime to be solved some of our human rights will have to be abridged. Former Prime Minister P J Patterson once said that the law is not a shackle. One politician was even reported to have said: “Lock them up and ask questions later.” We have seen the might of the State and its agents trampling on the rights of individuals and socially depressed communities. History in Jamaica is replete with too many incidents in which legislation that the people were sceptical about have been used against the people themselves. Take the Bill to the people and let them have a say.

Fernandez Smith

Former JLP councillor




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