Tuesday, August 8, 2006
The omissions of the past are catching up with scores of Jamaican old-timers who can't claim pension for which they have worked all their lives in countries like the United Kingdom and the United States, because they have no valid birth certificates.
Chief executive officer of the Registrar-General's Department (RGD), Dr Patricia Holness told the Jamaican Sunday Observer that in some cases her staff could do nothing to help those individuals, but share their despair and "try to remain calm as they vent their frustration".
Many of these senior citizens had migrated with photocopies of birth certificates, some of which were not issued by the RGD. In some cases, they had changed their names without going through the RGD and subsequently had married, had children and worked for long years, never having applied for a birth certificate, Holness said.
Holness appealed to Jamaicans to take the matter of civil registration seriously, "because if not, it will come back to haunt you, as it is now doing many of the countrys older compatriots".