Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips
The Parliamentary Opposition is not ruling out a legal challenge to the National Identification and Registration Bill if the government does not reconsider the proposed legislation.
Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips gave the signal on Tuesday at a media briefing.
Following twelve hours of deliberations and 168 amendments, the National Identification and Registration Bill was passed in the Senate on Monday night.
But Dr. Phillips has reiterated that there are some clauses in the Bill that are in breach of the Constitution. Clauses, he highlighted, such as the provision that makes it mandatory for citizens to register for the national ID and which stipulates a "significant" or "massive" fine for citizens who do not register, as well as the provision that denies Jamaican citizens access to necessary public services because they are not registered.
Dr. Phillips has urged the government to hold further consultations before implementing the programme. He warned that the Opposition is not afraid to take action if the government fails to reconsider the Bill.
"We are hoping still that the government will reconsider its position and we reserve our rights to do all that is necessary in whatever forum, including the courts, to ensure that the rights of the Jamaican people are not trampled upon," he asserted.
Dr. Phillips also addressed concerns that Opposition members in the Senate and those in the House of Representatives were of opposing views concerning the Bill.
"Opposition senators could not support the law which denies Jamaicans essential services which their taxes pay for. What they voted against is not the same Bill that was approved by the House of Representatives; and those who want to suggest that there's a difference of position between the Opposition members of the Lower House and the Opposition members of the Senate are mistaken in that view," he insisted.
The Bill, when it becomes law, will facilitate the implementation of a National Identification System.
Each citizen will be provided with a randomized nine-digit National Identification Number which they will have for life.