Local Registry goes High-Tech, Electronic Certificates Now Ready Vincentians
March 10, 2006

Local Registry goes High-Tech, Electronic Certificates Now Ready Vincentians

The introduction of electronic certificates of birth, marriage and death will help with the regional integration process, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines can provide the foundation for the strengthening of the movement. {{more}}

The Organization of American States (OAS) was instrumental in the implementation of the new system, which was launched at the High Court in Kingstown last Monday.

Dr. Bruce Rickerson is the OAS Senior Specialist in the Department for the Promotion of Democracy. For him, registration is the most basic of human rights. “If people are not registered, they have no rights,” he pointed out.

The OAS Specialist is optimistic that the OECS and the Caricom Single Market can benefit from the advances in technology initiated in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Monday’s programme was a culmination of a five-year exercise. Information dating as far back as 1865 can now be recovered electronically at the Registry in Kingstown.

Local OAS Director Merlene Glynn noted that “identity theft might not be a major issue in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” but said that “the relatively easy acquisition of certificates from civil registry and the possibility that fraudsters might utilize them to acquire valid documents – such as passports- is a cause for concern.”

She outlined, however, that the OAS Project would provide “additional levels of security at the Civil Registry, and the secure paper acquired for the new revised certificates will make duplication that much more difficult.”

Glynn hinted that of the OAS-sponsored projects in the English-speaking Caribbean, the Vincentian version “is one of the more advanced and successful,”

She praised the collaboration with the “major national stakeholders,” and commended them for their “enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication to duty.”

Roger Bart, OAS Senior Systems Analyst also came in for praise for his part in the venture.

Telecommunications Minister Dr. Jerrol Thompson joined in giving commendations to all those who worked on the project. He compared the new system to the cumbersome procedure which obtained prior to the technological development.

Thompson focused on the need for tamper-proof measures to help with the security of the certificates.

He would like to see the measures progress so that persons in other districts can get their certificates without having to come to Kingstown.

Dr. Thompson, the North Leeward representative, expressed the hope of seeing Parliamentarians with their Laptop computers so that they could down load information vital for debate in the House.

Registrar Tamara Gibson-Marks praised former Registrar Colleen McDonald for her role in the exercise. She justified the price of the new enhanced document at $15 as “necessary increase for greater security.”

For her that day was historic, and formed part of the “revolutionising of the Registry.”