NIDS Bill Passes after 168 Amendments

The country is one step closer to having a National Identification System (NIDS).

The Senate approved the contentious bill late last night, following a marathon 12-hour sitting. The bill was approved after 168 amendments.

Among the significant amendments was the reduction of a number of fines for improper use of the National Identification Card. The fines were decreased from $500,000 to $100,000.

Some Opposition MPs supported the bill earlier this year when it was passed in the House of Representatives. But last night all Opposition Senators voted against passage of the landmark bill, which seeks to put into operation a national ID system which has been discussed in Jamaica for some 4-decades.

Opposition Senate Leader Donna Scott Mottley sought to explain why the Opposition Senators took this course.

Responding – Government Senate Leader Kamina Johnson Smith insisted that extensive consultation was done on the NIDS bill.

She called on the Opposition for cooperation.

Earlier, tempers flared as a number of amendments proposed by Opposition Senators were shut down.

The Senate for continued sitting beyond 4:20 in the afternoon when the standing orders require that a motion be moved for an extension.

Opposition Senator KD Knight called the sitting a Kangaroo Senate.

This angered Senate President Tom Tavares Finson.

Senator Knight immediately withdrew his remark, even while the Government Senators told him his conduct was shameful.

As the sitting drew to a close at approximately 9:30 last night, Senator Tavares Finson noted that a number of bitter exchanges had taken some of shine off a vigourous debate.

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