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Five-minute feature on acts of kindness by local or overseas based non-government individuals and organisations that have benefitted Jamaicans.
Written and produced by the Radio Department of the Jamaica Information Service
News for Week of May 29, 2022
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.
Banks to participate in NIDS pilot
The Government is expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with financial institutions to participate in the national pilot of the National Identification System (NIDS).
Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister Floyd Green said that “already, all 10 members of the Jamaica Bankers Association have expressed an intent to sign the MOU to participate in the NIDS pilot”.
He noted that the inclusion of banks will ensure that there is a simplified process when opening bank accounts using the national identification system.
“We are ensuring that we make the lives of Jamaicans easier and more hassle-free. We know that with the absence of a holistic database for verification, it is very difficult for persons who are doing business or opening accounts with commercial entities, like the banks,” he said.
He noted that through NIDS, the Government is helping the unbanked to better handle their banking needs.
The Minister said that the system will provide a safe, convenient, and reliable means for persons to prove their identity.
“It will reduce bureaucracy, it will encourage efficiency, but more importantly, it will make the lives of our citizens easier,” he said.
The first NIDS pilot enrolment site is scheduled to be established in Kingston and St. Andrew by August 2022.
RGD adds more services to its online platform
Customers of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) will now be able to access additional services online as the entity continues its digitisation process.
Persons can now obtain an electronic burial order, apply for adoption certificates, and book their wedding at the RGD online.
“This is not just good for our residents but also for our diaspora, who can [now] access these services and are also able to upload documents and make payments and, as such, conduct whole transactions from the comfort of their homes, anywhere in the world,” he said portfolio government minister Floyd Green.
Minister Green noted that prior to 2020, customers could only apply online for birth, death and marriage certificates and genealogy research services.
He noted that over the last year, the agency has updated its online services to ensure that customers can now correct an error, update their records, and do a late entry of name online.
“In order to recraft and create a truly digital society, it has to start with a transformation of our civil registry. We must ensure that we increase accessibility, convenience and efficiency,” he stressed.
Minister Green further informed that the Government is now moving to procure a new registration software solution, “which for the first time in our history will link birth records to marriage records to deed poll to death records”.
The RGD registers 35,000 births, 12,000 marriages and 23,000 deaths per year.
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Foreign exchange market remains stable
Jamaica’s foreign exchange market has remained relatively stable since the start of the year.
Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Governor, Richard Byles, says this partly reflects actions taken by the BOJ, through its Monetary Policy Committee, in response to the higher than targeted inflation out-turn.
The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) reports that inflation for the 12-month period, ending April 2022, was 11.8 per cent.
Mr. Byles said that the policy committee also took the decision to pursue other measures to contain Jamaican dollar liquidity expansion and maintain relative stability in the foreign exchange market.
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Seek approval before building, says minister
Jamaicans are being implored to seek approval and advice from the local authorities for their building projects to ensure that proper development practices are being observed.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie, in making the appeal, said that failure to get the necessary building approvals results in irregularities and unplanned developments that threaten lives and property.
“It is not fair to persons, who invest in their homes, to have been subjected to [the consequences of unplanned developments],” he pointed out. “This is what we do to communities when we impose illegal construction.”
Minister McKenzie spoke during a tour of communities in Southern Cross in Harbour View, St. Andrew, where the properties of several residents are being adversely impacted by flooding and drainage issues caused by the construction of permanent structures in improper areas.
He said that the Ministry is working with the National Works Agency (NWA) and the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) to develop a strategy to correct the flooding and drainage issues, which destroy infrastructure and pose a credible risk to the safety of affected persons.
Ombudsman produces civic education book
To mark Jamaica’s 60th year of Independence and the 20th year of existence of the Office of the Political Ombudsman (OPO), the office has published a civic education handbook, titled ‘Jamaica Strong and Free’.
Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown said the book captures both the aspiration and inspiration for more civic knowledge, stronger civic depositions and a renewed commitment to respect unity and democracy.
According to her, it is a worthy successor to the190-page ‘Civics for Young Jamaicans’, written by Leonard Cecil Ruddock in 1967.
“We believe that the civic handbook honours this one and adds to the benefit of today’s children,” Mrs. Parchment Brown said.
Giving an overview of the publication, she said it is written in a user-friendly way, is illustrated in an engaging manner and is full of knowledge that can be used to make one a more aware and informed citizen.
“The ideation for such an important book came about after a review of the last General Election. We had an idea of an election campaign review in 2019; however, when we hosted a delegation from the Commonwealth Secretariat, they told us election review was a best practice,” Mrs. Parchment Brown noted.
One of the recommendations that came out of the review is that there was need for civic, electoral, and political education in Jamaica, and they suggested that the Political Ombudsman should play a big role in facilitating this education, in partnership with the political parties and other stakeholders.
“So many persons have contributed to what we believe is a very important book. We engaged over 50 stakeholder discussants from academia, youth groups, civil society, political parties, media, churches, and business representatives,” Mrs. Parchment Brown said. “We also engaged a consultant, a former educator, who assisted the OPO in producing this handbook.”
The handbook’s content covers topics such as civic responsibility; a brief history of the political and electoral process in Jamaica; voter education; electoral cycle; brief synopsis of the Jamaican Constitution; and Jamaica’s governance structure and processes.
Crime drives fear in all law-abiding citizens
By Bert Samuels
“What is really needed to stop the crime and moral decay in the society is to start with the kindergarten and basic schools where teachers will have to become more than teachers and play the role of parents.”
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Prominent attorney-at-law Bert Samuels sees the high level of crime in Jamaica as one of the country's greatest problems. He pointed out that despite the country’s rich heritage and although it produces some of the best athletes and performing artistes in the world, crime is driving fear into all law-abiding citizens.
This is what Mr. Samuels has to say on the issue and as he hopes for an end to the crime and violence plaguing the country.