PPP/C MP Norman Whittaker says the Amerindian Affairs and Home Affairs ministries have been engaged in registering the births of hinterland residents.
In a press release, Whittaker said many of these unregistered persons were born between the 1960s and 1980s and he questioned how the political leaders of that era failed to put systems in place to ensure that they were issued with birth certificates. He said at that time most residents could ill afford to travel to register births and those who undertook this endeavour did so by sacrificing a great deal of time, effort and cost.
The MP said to remedy this situation the PPP/C made toshaos ex officio Justices of the Peace and empowered them to certify affidavits for late registration of births in their respective villages in order to integrate them into the health system. At the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, Community Development Officers and project staff have been trained to complete these affidavits and other documents to execute the registration exercise.
According to the release, these interventions have seen an increase in the registration of births from a total of 257 in 2009 to 4,043 this year. “This progress has not been without its obstacles and that includes deliberate efforts on the part of some…to frustrate the process,” Whittaker said.
He noted too that several persons have not been able to access birth certificates, which are fundamental to enabling them to enjoy their rights which are enshrined in the Constitution. However, he said the ministry will continue its efforts to record all births.