Understanding the Law
September 10, 2004
Registration of Birth

The focus was on the court for the last few weeks. I will return to it soon after a short review of chapter 179 of the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Revised Edition, 1990. This deals with the services offered by the General Register Office (the Registry) and because it serves us from the cradle to the grave I consider it of tremendous importance. {{more}}

of Birth
Section 17 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act provides for the registration of births in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Every child born in St Vincent and the Grenadines must be registered. Registration is done by registrars in designated district post offices throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the General Register Office in Kingstown. As required by law, the names of the registrar in the districts are published in the Government gazette once per year.
It is the duty of the father or mother of the child to report the birth information to the registrar of births. If the father or mother fails to do so then the occupier of the house in which the child was born must provide the information. When a child is born at a hospital, it is the duty of the authorities in that institution to submit the birth information to the registrar. Information of the birth of a child must reach the registrar within fourteen days and not later than three months of the birth of the child.
Registration is a simple procedure, requiring essentially, the date and place of birth, the names and occupation of the parents and the name of the informant. Where the parents are unmarried both parents must make a joint declaration to have the father’s name inserted on the birth record. This is done on a consent form which is provided by the General Register Office and must be signed in the presence of a registrar or other authorized person. The father’s name is written in the appropriate column and the narrative “Father’s name entered by consent” is written in the remarks column. This is allowed within the first year of the birth of the child. After one year a different statutory declaration is required. This will be discussed in another article.
Persons who fail to provide the necessary birth information could be compelled to do so by the Registrar General anytime after three months and not later than one year of the birth of the child. A notice is sent to the parents of the child who must comply within seven days. If the stipulated time period is not met, parents might find that they have to apply for late registration. Birth that is registered late is recorded in a supplementary register.
It is not unusual for persons to seek to obtain a birth certificate when the child is about to commence school only to find that the information is not available. It is incumbent on all concerned to register in accordance with the law. Any changes to the record within the first year of the birth of the child should be given on Form 4 which is obtained at the Registry on request. Only authorized persons can apply for birth certificates.