Grenadians will get another new National Identification Card, according to Minister with responsibility for ICT in the Ministry of Communications, Works, Physical Development, Public Utilities, Alvin DaBreo.
The Member of Parliament for St. John told last week’s sitting of Parliament that the New National Party (NNP) administration of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is making preparation to roll out its new ID programme within the next few months.
“Very soon this government would be launching an electronic MP Identification (ID) Card,” DaBreo said.
He informed the House of Representatives that one of the biggest problems facing developed countries is that of identification theft and with this in mind his administration has taken the initiative to take the lead in protecting its citizens while putting into place a card in which parents can start registering their children from the age of five.
According to the minister, the card will have the individual’s (card holder) pertinent information that can be used to start school and all areas of government.
He said the Ministry of Health would be able to use the card to enter important medical information of an individual so that in the case of an emergency the card can be scanned to obtain relevant information.
“Students would be able to use it to identify themselves at national events and school activities such as Intercol,” DaBreo said, adding that the card would be difficult to fake as it will contain the individual’s picture and built-in fingerprint.
The Minister of State told Parliament that the card when introduced will replace all other existing national cards and as such there would be no need to duplicate cards such as the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), voter registration cards or a health card.
“It will be versatile because even businesses, banks or other institutions want to use it, for a fee they could have access (to) it because it would be a writable/readable so that you can put information on that card pertaining only to your business and you alone could read it”, he explained.
The senior government minister appealed to the general public to see the benefits of this initiative when it cones on stream.
It is not known if the new system purchased by the electoral office would be used to produce the new ID or a new system would be purchased.
It is also not clear whether the new system will work in conjunction with the modernised electronic ID’s of the Electoral Office that cost the country in excess of $2 million to secure the updated machine.
The digital camera equipment used to produce more sophisticated voter registration identification cards was purchased by the Electoral Office in Canada costing government $2,137,101.00.
The package included the cost of the machine ($1,193,106.00) as well as maintenance fee ($143,995.00 per year) under a five-year pact.
Supervisor of Elections, Judy Benoit in explaining the need for the new system said that the manual camera used for producing an ID is inefficient when compared to the new digital equipment as well as cost effective.
She said that companies no longer produce the manual camera and that the manual camera was very insecure as an ID could be easily produced by anyone unlike the digitally produced ID equipment now in their possession.
Hundreds of recently produced ID cards still remain in the possession of the parliamentary elections office throughout the country.
It is believed that hundreds of Grenadians also refrained from applying for these ID cards due to fear that their fingerprints could be accessed by the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) in their attempt to solve crimes.