NIDS Brought to Court
The People’s National Party legal team led by Queen’s Counsel Michael Hylton heads back to the Constitutional Court this morning to continue submissions to the panel consisting of Chief Justice Brian Sykes, J David Batts, and J Lisa Palmer.
Yesterday, the opposition commenced its submission into the application brought by General Secretary Julian Robinson on the constitutional provisions of sections of the NIDS Act.
Some of the areas said to be in breach are those which deal with the mandatory requirement to be enrolled, the breach of the right to privacy by way of the requirement to provide ones fingerprint the unequal treatment of Jamaicans compared to non-Jamaicans in the requirement to have a NIN in order to access public goods or services. It was also pointed out that the law applies to all Jamaicans including those living overseas and places Jamaicans at a disadvantage over non-Jamaicans. There was also the general denial of goods and services where an individual does not have a NIN.
The opposition also argued that the government by its own admission has accepted that the NIDS Act breaches some of the constitutionally guaranteed rights and to that extent has the duty to prove that such breach is demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. It further concluded that the government has failed to discharge this burden.
In response to the claim by the state that the suit was premature as the regulations were not yet completed, the opposition argued that there are some provisions in the act which infringes the constitutional rights and cannot be cured by the regulations as they are subsidiary to the main Act.
NIDS stands for National Identification System. It is a system that will be sued to digitally register all Jamaicans.