Jamaica will have its National Identification System (NIDS) after all. Hot-tempered exchanges and unkind comments by senators marred the afternoon session of yesterday’s Senate deliberations on the NIDS Bill in the Upper House. However the contentious legislation was passed with 168 amendments at 9:13 p.m.
The Opposition voted against the bill.
More than 80 minutes was spent debating Sections 41-44, which opposition senators considered extremely invasive, for it to be mandatory that the biometric data provided by the State be handed to private sector entities, failing which goods and services required will be denied.
Section 41 of the bill requires that, “A public body shall require that a registered individual submit the National Identification Number (NIN) assigned to him or the National Identification Card (NIC) issued to him to facilitate the delivery to him of goods or services provided by the public body and the registered individual shall comply with the request … .”
Opposition senators considered the section to be an overreach, saying it was impractical to deny service to a child born overseas of Jamaican parents days after arrival in the island but who has no NIDS identification.
Senator Floyd Morris sought to ascertain if children would be denied access to primary education in schools if they did not present with a NIDS ID.
Senator Damion Crawford said it would be against their constitutional rights to be denied an education.
However, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, the leader of government business in the Senate, said it was not now a requirement for children to provide identification before they are provided goods and services.
As a result, the proposal by the Opposition that the provision of the clause be reworded was denied.
However it was on subsection two that tempers flared, especially as the spirited deliberations saw senators go beyond the 4:20 stipulated time without moving a motion to allow the sitting to go beyond that time.
That section reads: “A private-sector entity may require that a registered individual submit the National identification Number assigned to him or the National Identification Card issued to him to facilitate the delivery to him of goods and services provided by the private-sector entity and the registered individual shall comply with the request … .”
During deliberations on sections three and four, tempers flared. Opposition senator K.D. Knight referenced the activities as a…