Senators Spar as Opposition Pushes for Stalling of NIDS Bill

Opposition Senator KD Knight on Friday recommended that the government withdraw the bill which proposes to establish a National Identification System, NIDS.

Senator Knight says the bill is well-intentioned but impractical, flawed and intrusive.

Knight also criticized a section of the bill which recommends a jury trial for an individual who is suspected of using an identification card for impersonation or other illegal means.

The Opposition Senator argued that sections of the NIDS bill are invasive and absurd.

Senator Knight said he agrees with a view expressed in the public domain that the proposed law will unjustifiably hinder citizens from exercising existing rights and freedoms upon pain of punishment if they do not enroll in the NIDS.

He recommended that the bill be referred to a joint select committee of the Senate and the public be invited to provide feedback.

The Opposition Senator’s recommendation was not accepted by his Government counterparts.

Meanwhile…several Government Senators challenged Senator Knight’s call for a delay of the passage of the NIDS bill.

Government Senator, Kavan Gayle, says he found the posture of Senator Knight and the Opposition Senators difficult to understand.

Another Government Senator, Matthew Samuda also pushed back against calls for a delay in the passage of the bill.

Samuda argued that a National Identification System is necessary given the challenges which have been facing Jamaica for decades.

Samuda was supported by his colleague on the Government benches, Ransford Braham, who said despite understanding some of the concerns about current plans for a National Identification System, he supports the Bill.

Debate on the bill is still underway in the Senate.