NASSAU, The Bahamas (5th July, 2022) – The Ministry of Economic Affairs in conjunction with the National e-Identification System (NIS) Committee convened a two-day kick-off workshop aimed at engaging government and private stakeholders on key issues for the development of a strategy for the implementation of a National Digital Identification System in The Bahamas. The workshop was held at Margaritaville Beach Resort, Bay Street, Nassau, Bahamas, on 28th – 29th June, 2022.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Member of Parliament for the Bains and Grants Town Constituency, and Chairman of the NIS Committee, Mr. Wayde Watson, during his address to participants noted that the workshop marked the formal beginning of “the process of developing a strategy, roadmap and action plan for the implementation and adoption of a national digital identification system in The Bahamas.”
Mr. Watson highlighted that a number of government agencies have expanded their service offerings online, and through the government’s MyGateway portal, the stage is being set for the nation’s transition to safe paperless end to end online transactions.
Attending international consultants Javier Preciozzi and Bernard Morvant, evoked discussions after they made presentations on topics that included the following:
- Digital ID System Design Concepts and Findings of the Concept Note that they developed in 2021
- Articulating a Vision and the priorities for a National Digital ID System
Digital ID Expert consultant, Satyajit Suri, in his presentation on Methodology, Approach and Draft Work Plan for Developing the Strategy, Roadmap and Action Plan, laid out the objectives of the project and the key considerations for designing The Bahamas’ Digital ID Project. While he expressed hope that implementation would be both agile and accelerated, he led a discussion on some of the key risks to the digital ID enrollment process and outlined the key milestones set for the next six (6) months.
The expert participants gave valuable feedback surrounding the accuracy and use of data across agencies that produce functional IDs, such as the Passport Office, The National Insurance Board and the Road Traffic Department. Ultimately, they were all in agreement on a national digital ID being the one source of truth as proof of identity for transactions with public and private entities, allowing users to prove “that they are who they say they are”. Discussions in breakout groups addressed key themes such as the adoption of a Digital ID, the protection of individual privacy and data rights, inclusion, implementation timelines and security.
Addressing the closing session of the workshop, National Coordinator for Information Technology, Mr. Patrick Davis, commended the organizers, consultants and participants. He explained that the legal team “was diligently working on developing the legal framework for a healthy National Digital Identity System that will provide safety, reliability and the accurate authentication of identity information.” He concluded that the workshop, which was aimed at creating a platform for exchanging and sharing experiences, best practices and lessons learned, achieved its objectives.
In 2021, A Concept Note for the Development of a National Digital ID System was developed by IDB consultants in consultation with key government stakeholders as part of the IDB Digital Transformation Loan Project.
A Special Committee for National e-ID System (NIS) implementation was appointed by Cabinet to oversee and champion the establishment and adoption of the National Digital ID System, and the Committee has established the multi-stakeholder business, technical and legal and regulatory working groups to support its work in analysing, deliberating, and providing recommendations on specific issues related to the planning, design, implementation, and adoption of the Digital ID System.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs has also recently engaged a Digital ID Expert to lead the development of a strategy, roadmap, and action plan for the Digital ID System. The expert will also provide technical and advisory support in developing key outputs to fast-track implementation, and for the procurement and selection of a digital identity solution provider.