The Supreme Court will this morning start hearing arguments in the Opposition People’s National Party, PNP, challenge to the National Identification and Registration, NIDS, Act.
In May, the PNP filed a motion in the Supreme Court seeking to have sections of the NIDS Act declared as unconstitutional.
The Bill was passed in Parliament in November last year despite a walkout by the Opposition. The action is being brought by the Party’s General Secretary, Julian Robinson on behalf of himself, his constituents and the members of the PNP.
The action alleges several constitutional violations of citizens’ rights. The Opposition contends that various sections of the Act are unconstitutional and operate as violations to the rights of citizens of Jamaica.
Mr. Robinson says the Opposition is deeply concerned with the haste of the passage of the Act which has left several of its provisions wholly inadequate and unlawful.
In May, Mr. Robinson also told reporters NIDS puts the data of Jamaicans at risk. He stated that it allowed for the sharing of an individual’s information with third parties, and in so doing, violates their right to privacy.
Meanwhile, Opposition Senator Donna Scott-Mottley, a member of the legal team, says there is a lot of anxiety surrounding NIDS. She says it carries very strong penalties for those who do not register and the poor may find themselves serving prison sentences for their inability to pay the hundreds of thousands in fines that will be levied if they don’t register.
The legal team headed by Former Solicitor General and Queen’s Counsel Michael Hylton, also includes Michael Vaccianna and Jennifer Housen.
The team is instructed by the firm of Paulwell Frazer Binns. Attorney General, Marlene Malahoo Forte is leading the government’s team. The team also includes two deputy Solicitor Generals.
And Member of Parliament for Portland Western, Daryl Vaz has blasted the parliamentary Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) for using various tactics to regain state power. He was speaking at Edmund Bartlett’s St James East Central constituency conference held at the John Rollins Success Primary School in the parish yesterday.
Mr Vaz, in substantiating his argument, made mention of the PNP’s decision to challenge the governments’ passage of the National Identification and Registration (NIDS) Act in court today.
Mr. Vaz also pointed to the breaking of ranks by Queens Council, KD Knight who abstained from a vote to support an extension of the State of Public Emergency in St James on Friday.
The State of Public Emergency was eventually passed with a two-thirds majority of 17 of 21 Senators voting in favour and three absent. Friday’s vote is the fourth extension of the State of Public Emergency in St. James.