Understanding the Law
September 17, 2004
Birth records in focus

Late registration

If the parents of a child fail to report the birth within a year and the registrar receives that information thereafter, the information is recorded in a supplementary register and not in the principal birth register.
The application for registration must be made by statutory declaration (affidavit with the facts sworn to by the parents before a registrar or other authorized person). {{more}} A lawyer normally draws this up. The entry in a supplementary register is valid as if entered in the principal register of birth. When an application for a birth certificate is made it will be convenient to disclose that the birth information was submitted late to help in the location of the information. The supplementary register also records births that have been entered in the birth register without names or other relevant information. Late registration is done at the General Register Office in Kingstown.

Registration and alteration of the names of a child

Section 26 of the Registration of Births and Death Act of Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Revised Edition, 1990) provides for the registration of the names of the child. The names of the child could be submitted at the time of the submission of the birth information. However, they could be submitted or altered not later than one year after the birth of the child. The names and date of such registration are entered forthwith in the principal register. A baptismal certificate could be submitted to verify the names. After one year the written authority of the Registrar General is needed for the registration of the names.
It is important for the parents to take care in spelling the names of the child correctly as an incorrect spelling could cost later on. Parents should therefore submit the information in written form.

Penalty for non-compliance

Information about birth must be given by persons who are required by law to do so. According to section 26 (5) any person who is required by Chapter 179 to do something specified by it and fails to do so within the time stipulated, is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine of $250.

Correction of errors on birth records
Section 43 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act of the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Revised Edition 1990) provides for the correction of errors on birth records. Where the error was made by the informant, a statutory declaration will be required to effect the relevant correction.
An application for correction is made by way of a statutory declaration. Two credible applicants having knowledge of the person involved must make the declaration. The declaration essentially discloses the relevant information about birth and the correction required. The section has been interpreted broadly to provide for the insertion of a name that was inadvertently omitted from the record. A baptismal certificate will help to support the application.
The registrar approves the application and the correction is made in the birth register. The original entry is not physically deleted. An asterisk is placed besides the error to connect it to the narrative recorded at the top of the page. Birth certificates issued thereafter will carry the identical
correction as recorded in the birth register.