Thursday, July 14, 2011

Registrar General's Department: Thieves in the temple

-Breakboy Nrg (Social Graffiti)
Defacing the clean, tidy walls of the perfect little doll house of society
As the new school year approaches, parents who have children about to enter primary schools have a slightly intimidating and overwhelming process ahead of them, first trying to find a school that is close to you and also one that has a good reputation , unfortunately for us in the corporate area, if you don’t have that $60-$70,000 a term to send your child to a private prep school, a government funded primary school will have to do, the problem is, as you can imagine, primary schools whose students achieve the academic performance that prep schools students do are very limited.

As a result, parents will do almost anything to get their children into a desirable school. This process as I said before can be extremely exhausting, parents have to submit applications with supporting materials which may include transcripts, personal statements, recommendations from past teachers , medical histories, immunization cards and most importantly the child’s birth certificate.
I would expect that as the new school year approaches, that the registrar general’s department , knowing this trend, would put procedures in place to address the increased request for applications.

However, I am way ahead of myself, before I ask for that, I should ask for integrity and competence, we hear every day of the JPS and other private companies overcharging for service, but why isn’t there more of a public outcry when a government agency daily commits consumer fraud.

On May 24, 2011, I made an application for a copy for my 6 year old step son’s  birth certificate for the purpose of  applying to a preferred primary school,  it was needed almost immediately as we were trying to meet a deadline so we paid the extra  $1600 for the express service which promises delivery in three days, five working days later no birth certificate, we try calling and all we get is a recording asking for a 12 digit tracking number, there are, of course only 11 numbers are on the receipt (they have since amended it to include a zero).

The school administrators try to be patient and give me an extension, they say that others parents with this experience (it seems to be many), return to the RGD to make an additional request and often receive it then, so we take their advice, we return to the downtown office, the clerk promises to do another search, one month later and after the school’s extension has long passed along with my step sons chance for admission, we receive the certificate.

In order to avoid repeating this experience, I apply for my 3 year old daughter’s birth certificate using the “late entry of name” process, I paid $2950 for delivery in 7 days, its been three weeks .

Why can’t I learn?

The Jamaican people have to put up with much in the way arrogance and poor service by those in the public sector; lack of accountability for politicians, slow police response to criminal activities, harassment of citizens by the police, long waiting times in public hospitals, the passport office, the tax office and registrar general department, and poor road conditions, these are only a few examples.

Isn’t it criminal that the arrogance is so blatant that the government can continually commit consumer fraud? Collecting money for a service that it cannot provide without any feelings of remorse.

Please boycott the Registrar Generals Express service, a ridiculous and unlawful service indeed.

 Breakboy Nrg


  1. I hate to be a complainer of anything in Jamaica because as a foreigner who lived there for a short time I was supposed to be living in paradise right?
    But I have to say it doesn't take long at all to become part of the rat race you are describing. Waiting in line for hours to pay a bill, sending inquiry emails to large companies such as Digicel and JPS and NEVER getting any response. Whatever happened to customer service? I think if Jamaica would like to claim it's status as a great country to do business with they need to take a second look at how they do business.

  2. After hearing the first batch of complaints on the radio shortly after the Express service was launched, I knew it was a waste of time, money, and a bringer of undue stress.

    Unless they make a concerted effort to improve that service option, I believe that they should do away with the Express Service. It's more than obvious that it's not living up to the task.

  3. The problem with the RGD is that they are accountable to no one. If they don't do what they are supposed to do - what are the repercussions? who is fined? who loses their job? who is made to compensate the aggrieved customer? Absolutely NOBODY. They will continue to operate as a little fiefdom. We having to pay for and use their 'services' because there is no alternative and them treating us any way they feel like.

  4. The trouble with Jamaica is that as a country we do not take our collective selves seriously enough, nor do we demonstrate the level of competence it takes to be a player on the world's stage, and very few of us, out of a misguided sense of pride and loyalty, want to admit it. We behave as though tourism is all that there is to us, so we pride our selves on this "laid-back" attitude that has a certain appeal and works for that industry. We have to come up higher so that the very thing that has been a boon for us doesn't marginalize us as a proficient and believable competitor in other markets.

    That said, let me share my nightmare with the RGD. I am in my fifties, and for the sake of arguement, let's say that I was born JANUARY 13, 2012. In the old days birth cirtificates were hand written and stamped with the Great Seal. Thats the kind I had until very recently when I misplaced it. Believing that procuring a replacement was a simple matter, I made my application providing the necessary information. When the replacement arrived, my birthday was listed as JANUARY 1,not JANUARY 13. OK let's try again. On my second attempt I had a dear friend carry the information to them, they assured her that she would get it in a few weeks which she did. This time, however, my birthday was listed as JANUARY 3rd. My question at this time is "WEH TH BAD WUD, BAD WUD DEM A SPLIT UP MI 13 FA??? I went through primary school, high school, some college, and gained legal entry to the United States using my original birth certificate. Now some incompetent data entry clerk has created this nightmare for me to sort out and their attitude is that I have to find some childhood sources to essentially verify that I am ME!!!

  5. There MUST be some way of collecting a refund for express service if the service is not received within the promised time frame. Until customers begin to DEMAND their refund it will continue.

    Note that these same people would not accept the same sort of slack service from a pizza shop but instead they submit to this slackness. When the RGD has to be making substantial refunds monthly, and a couple slackers get fired, only then will express service be delivered within the advertised time frame.