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Jamaica: Don’t fingerprint preteens for NIDS, children’s advocate urges

Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison has recommended that children 12 years and under should not be fingerprinted for enrolment in the National Identification System (NIDS).

Making her submission to a joint select committee reviewing the National Identification and Registration Act, 2020, in a virtual sitting held on Tuesday, the children’s advocate said the fingerprinting of children should accord with existing legislation.

“My own view is that perhaps for coordination and some amount of systematic uniformity. we could consider that the minimum be 12 years, having it in line with the Finger Prints Act,” Gordon Harrison said.

The children’s advocate quizzed the committee and members of the NIDS team on how the legislation addresses the issue of enrolment of minors.

Where the application for enrolment was done in relation to a minor, Gordon Harrison wanted to know if the NIDS legislation purport to fingerprint all minors from zero to 18 years?

Responding to this question, Janel Williams, a member of the NIDS legal team, said that age was not stated in the bill, noting that the issue would be detailed in regulations.

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