(CMR) The Cayman Islands National Identification system is a step closer to becoming a reality after Cabinet approved the Identification Register Act, 2022 (Commencement) Order 2023 recently. This approval allows for issuance of drafting instructions for the development of Regulations pursuant to the Cayman Islands Identification Card Act, 2022 and Identification Register Act, 2022.
The Government said the Identification Register and Cayman Islands Identification Card legislation, which is expected to cost around CI$8 million, create the foundation for the digital identity of individuals and will modernize governance and redefine how Cayman Islands residents transact with Government and businesses.
Initially, obtaining an ID was mandatory; however, after feedback from the general public, the recommendation was made that registration also be optional, removing what some say is a barrier to accepting the legislation.
Several changes were made to the Identification Register Bill 2022 at the committee stage in Parliament last year following concerns from members of the public.
The government initially planned to put every legal resident’s name, date of birth, gender, and status on the identification register, with people able to choose to apply for a National identity card with its own unique identity code. However, with opposition to the bill, registration is also now optional.
People not in the register will not be denied access to any services.
Deputy Chief Officer Charles Brown explained in an interview with CMR last year that with the national registry, persons who leave Cayman and may be living overseas would not need to return to the island to conduct business but can apply for various documents from wherever they are.
“If we have a national disaster, God forbid, and you use all your available forms of ID, you have the register that is a basic backbone set of information that can prove who you are… It brings new power to what the citizens can,” he explained.