My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Jamaica to adopt National Identification System - NIDS makes Caribbean Islands in the Stream

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jamaica to adopt National Identification System - NIDS makes Caribbean Islands in the Stream

Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my heart and hand to this vote

Daniel Webster, (speech written by John Adams)

Looks like some good news has finally come out the Government of Jamaica on this Tuesday August 2nd 2011AD by way of The Jamaica Observer! The Government of Jamaica on August 1st 2011AD, Jamaica’s 49th Emancipation Day, announced that they have received funding for the development of a NIDS (National Identification System) as stated in the article “Jamaica gets funding for national ID system”, published Monday, August 01, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

Folks, we may be looking at the first inklings of a push towards Regional Integration within CARICOM (Caribbean Community) and the enabling of the CSME (Common Single Market Economy) to interconnect us disparate Islands in the Stream (1977).

This thanks to a US$670,000 technical co-operation grant from the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) to add on to the US$120,000 of Government of Jamaica funds [read taxpayers money!]. Hopefully, this money will be spent to do what it was earmarked for and not end up as political campaign money come General Elections in 2012AD, being as it being run out of the Office of the Prime Minister.

Plus, it would be great to replace all those cumbersome list of cards that I have to essentially walk around with such as:

  1. NIS (National Insurance System)
  2. TRN (Tax Registration Number)
  3. National Voter’s ID
  4. Passport
  5. Driver’s License
  6. JADEP Health Cards
  7. Credit and Debit Cards (wishful thinking)
People, play the NIDS theme song by country western star Kenny Rogers, Islands in the Stream!

In case you are worried that this is the coming fulfillment of the Mark of the Beast, you missed that boat a couple blog posts aback, when I made note of the fact that NFC (Near Field Communication) usage in smartphone payments was a better candidate for this coveted trophy in Bible Prophecy as my blog article entitled “AT&T, NFC, and M2M - Cashless Society and the Internet of Things”.

Natural, as the all encompassing nature of the NIDS means that it may also be storing Biometric Information (fingerprints, retina scans, DNA sequence?) to provide absolute information about you that may be updatable in a database, much as is the case with the much touted but little-is-being-heard-or-done-about Credit Bureau as stated in my blog article entitled “JDX and Banks - Money, Money, Money in a Rich Man's World”.

The sentiments of a bank clerk Sharon Pinnock in the article “What's Your Number? - Jamaica To Get National Identification System”, published Monday April 4, 2011 by Anastasia Cunningham, Senior Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner sums up what John Public thinks of this plan best, quote: “Not sure I like the idea. It seems so invasive, as if I will have no privacy left. It's bad enough with the revelation about the MOUs that someone is listening in on our phone conversations, now this. It's like your life is an open book and you're fully naked for the Government to do as they will.”

NIDS had been the preordained herald for what is essentially Social Security in Jamaica as described in the April 2011AD article “What's Your Number? - Jamaica To Get National Identification System”, published Monday April 4, 2011 by Anastasia Cunningham, Senior Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner. One number to rule them all, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) style!

Benefits abound in this proposal spearheaded back in 1994AD by the EAC (Electoral Advisory Committee), as aside from making you wallet lighter, it has the following sanguine benefits for both Public and Private Sectors (hence the Debit and Credit Cards reference above!):

  1. Registration of births and deaths
  2. Criminal records
  3. Traffic ticketing
  4. Tax compliance
  5. Records management
  6. Road and drivers licensing
  7. Travel within CARICOM
Not so sure about the catching criminals bit, despite being tied to a central updatable Database as opined by The Jamaica Observer in his editorial entitled “Use National ID System to go after criminals”, published Tuesday, August 02, 2011, by the Editor, The Jamaica Observer, but I relish the idea of having it by our 50th Emancipation Day Celebration in 2012AD!

Again a Jamaican Gleaner vox pop paint a picture of John Public on this business of catching criminals, the quote Paul Wallace, a seller of phone chargers in Kingston: “Jamaicans are one of the smartest set of people in the world. They can beat any system. If the Government thinks they can use this to keep track of criminals, they really don't know us Jamaicans.”

For that [criminals] we need the MRSI (Mandatory Registration of Subscriber Information) as spearheaded by Senator Dwight Nelson, Minister of National Security and Justice as chronicled in my blog article entitled “MRSI and MNP - Where the Spies Are”. Stray dogs killing people in the now sporadic incident of Dog Attacks and their culpable owners are also best tracked and captured by the use of Telecom Providers already extensive and upgradeable Database as opined in my blog article entitled “MRSI and Stray Dogs - Dr. Dolittle and The Golden Child”.

MRSI, I suspect, will be implemented sometime in the First Quarter of 2012, being as by then the outdated Telecommunications Act of 2000 would have been updated and the new Telecoms Regulatory body would have been implemented as stated in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers get their own Regulator - GOJ says Telecoms For Your Eyes Only”.

Still, this is a push towards a common Regional identification. For better or for worse, it is a necessity to enable Regional integration, the main reason why I like NIDS and penned this blog post. I assume the other members of CARICOM also have plans in place to implement their own NIDS and do away with the cumbersome travel documents that make travel and trade between the islands so difficult.

This as Jamaica and the Caribbean islands are merely Islands in the Stream (1977).

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