Recognising that many Jamaicans share reservations about the Government of Jamaica’s planned implementation of a National Identification Card, Floyd Green, minister without portfolio in the office of the prime minister, has sought to explain the necessity of a National ID.
Making his contribution to the 2022-2023 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives today (May 24), Green pointed to the differences between the forms of identification currently being used and what should be expected when the National ID is introduced.
According to the minister, “the voter’s ID, while it has served us well, it is limited in scope. It is not available to the entire population, as persons below 18 years of age are excluded from registration”.
Similarly, he noted that “the Driver’s Licence is even more exclusive as you have to fulfil a specific criterion to access it.”
While a Jamaican passport is considerably more accessible than a driver’s licence or a voter’s ID, this form of identification comes at a cost.
Green argued: “The reality is that all the aforementioned are functional identifications, meaning, they were created by legislation for specific purposes. (However) they were not designed to confirm your identity.”
As a result, there is often a need to present two or more forms of identification that have to be supported by a letter from a justice of the peace confirming that you are who you say you are.
On the other hand, the minister shared: “The National Identification Card is the first ID for everyone.”
“We can say this by law because the National Identification Card supports strong authentication using digital certificates, fingerprints and facial images as digital credentials,” said Green.
He added: “Fingerprints and facial images allow persons to authenticate based on who they are instead of using something they have.”
Important to note is that the National Identification Card will be offered to persons free of cost.
According to section 17 of the National Identification Registration Act, “an enrolled individual who is issued a National Identification Card may use the card as a means of proving that individual’s identity, and where such an individual furnishes the card to a person who requires proof of the individual’s identity:
(a) the Card shall be accepted as sufficient proof of the individual’s identity; and
(b) the person shall not require the individual to produce any
additional proof of identity.”