Coalition for a Healthy Society didn't advocate for transgenders with NIDS committeeThursday, February 25, 2021
At the joint select committee meeting on the proposed national identification system (NIDS), held on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, the oral presentation of the submission by the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) was made by the Advocacy Officer Philippa Davies.
In reporting on the submission, Jamaica Observer Senior Staff Reporter Balford Henry stated that “[Minister Delroy Chuck] refused to be drawn into a dispute with the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society against allowing transgenders to amend their national identification after a sex change.”
Anyone who heard the presentation must be awestruck at the imagination of Henry. I can attest to the fact that the claim of a “dispute” is a figment of the reporter's imagination. I heard the presentation. In fact I delivered it.
In actual fact, the discussion between Davies and the chairman, Minister Chuck, concerned the JCHS's insistence that the Government demonstrate that citizens are truly free to choose to enrol or not enrol in the NIDS. The JCHS sees that if existing forms of government IDs are removed and replaced only by the national identification card (NIC), the actual effect would be to make enrolment mandatory.
The JCHS emphasised that if the Government intends for NIDS to be voluntary there needs to be a specific provision in the law that the other existing forms of identification can continue to be equally accepted alongside the NIC.
The JCHS holds the view that to preserve a free and democratic society the legitimate involvement of citizens in economic and social activities of the country must not be curtailed by the Government. Citizens should not be excluded from economic and social activities if they do not want to participate in the NIDS. A full copy of the actual presentation can be made available to Jamaica Observer readers in the interest of accuracy.
The JCHS's point on retaining use of existing IDs was clearly understood by committee members Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte, Minister Fayval Williams, and Opposition Members of Parliament Julian Robinson and Peter Bunting, who even suggested language to accommodate the coalition's concern. Chairman Chuck himself also understood the point and sought to personally reassure the JCHS and the nation that enrolment will be voluntary.
There was no discussion between the committee and Davies on transgenders.
The JCHS wonders what was the motive of Senior Staff Reporter Balford Henry with his report.
Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society
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