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Rethink new rule for birth and marriage certificates

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09.APR.09

Editor: The notice in the weekly newspapers informing the general public of the change in the law regarding the application for birth and marriage certificates seems to be more an emotional response to a newspaper story that may have revealed weakness in the system, rather than a well thought out approach at improving the control process.{{more}}

Having applied for both a birth and marriage certificate over the last year, I can definitely support the need for better controls over the application process. As I recall, one simply needed to fill in the required information on a slip of paper, pay and collect the document. I cannot recall being asked for Identification, to sign for receipt of the document, or even to state if they were for me or someone else. There appeared to have been no procedure for due diligence.

But punishing the general public by making the process more expensive does very little at improving the safeguards to prevent misdeeds. To me it is simply generating income mostly for the Lawyers.

I do not know a single Justice of the Peace in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. On the two occasions I needed to have documents notarized, I engaged the services of an attorney who I did not previously have any dealings with and who probably still does not know who I am. She asked for my identification card, examined it, notarized my document, I paid her and the process was over. Can’t the same thing be done at the court house?

Persons have legitimate reasons to apply for birth and marriage certificates; it is an unfair burden to levy this additional cost on them. I hereby call on the Registrar to rethink the new rule and come up with a solution that does not punish us all.

S.P.Haynes

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