Deputy Registrar of Vital Stats testifies before Senate Hearings

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Updated: October 18, 2017

Deputy Registrar of the Vital Statistics Unit, Patricia Hinkson appeared before the Senate Select Committee this morning. The committee was interested in finding out if there are any measures in place that can prevent persons from fraudulently obtaining a birth certificate. This is what she told the committee.

Aldo Salazar, Chairman of Senate Hearings

“Is it something that we can’t prevent because anybody can apply for a birth certificate and pretend to be somebody?”

Patricia Hinkson – Deputy Registrar of Vital Statistics Unit

“Well anybody can apply, anybody can come into the office and apply for my birth certificate. That is just the rule.”

Senator, Elena Smith

“But there has to be something in place though that if I go and apply for a birth certificate for you there has to be something in place that tells you the person who is receiving it that I am authorized to do so?”

Patricia Hinkson – Deputy Registrar of Vital Statistics Unit

“Once that person has his or her Social Security or passport they can apply for any document in that unit.”

Aldo Salazar, Chairman of Senate Hearings

“It’s a public record.”

Senator Elena Smith

“So if I apply for you I have to have only an ID for myself?”

Patricia Hinkson – Deputy Registrar of Vital Statistics Unit

“So that they can scan that ID.”

Senator Elena Smith

“To show who applied for it?”

Senator Elena Smith

“Who applied for the document?”

Senator Elena Smith

“So that in the end if it turns out that that is not a proper paper then you would be able to…”

Patricia Hinkson – Deputy Registrar of Vital Statistics Unit

“If the document is used by someone else then you can tell exactly whose ID was scanned and who signed because they also have a sign a signature pad.”

Aldo Salazar, Chairman of Senate Hearings

“So what happens if a foreigner wants to bribe person or persons within the Unit to produce a birth certificate? Hinkson says it all boils down to the integrity of those employed at the Unit.”

Patricia Hinkson – Deputy Registrar of Vital Statistics Unit

“It all depends on the integrity of the fixer and the verifier.”

Aldo Salazar, Senator

“There is a two person controller.”

Patricia Hinkson – Deputy Registrar of Vital Statistics Unit

“Or if it’s in the case of you go to the registration clerk at the hospital it all depends on her because she registers and she inputs also.”

Aldo Salazar, Chairman of Senate Hearings

“But I am an adult already so that is pertinent for children if you have a child that was born in Guatemala you come and if we have people who are data entry who have no integrity in that regard then you would be able to…”

Patricia Hinkson – Deputy Registrar of Vital Statistics Unit

“Well the system tells you exactly who did what and on what date that action was done.

It’s a step by step process, you come in and apply, that is addition you go to the cashier, to verification and the name is attached to the action; you know exactly who is the officer who verified that document.”

Aldo Salazar, Chairman of Senate Hearings

“In terms of the registration of the birth of a child you said the support should be a certificate from a medical practitioner that the child was born anywhere in Belize so that depends on the integrity of medical practitioners as well right because you can have some medical practitioners see that the child was born in Melchor but say that the child was born in Arenal on our side of the football field and that it.”

Patricia Hinkson – Deputy Registrar of Vital Statistics Unit

“Well the onus is on the practitioner to have some form of integrity.”

Aldo Salazar, Chairman of Senate Hearings

“So now I’m just trying to identify the weaknesses which really are things that are difficult for us to control.”

Patricia Hinkson – Deputy Registrar of Vital Statistics Unit

“And I would think that it would be the medical authorities that would try to deal with that specific doctor.”

Aldo Salazar, Chairman of Senate Hearings

And then apart from that it also relies on the integrity of the data entry person who will say that…..they have to keep that certificate from the medical practitioner?

Patricia Hinkson – Deputy Registrar of Vital Statistics Unit

“A copy and then they create a schedule based on that and that is given to the mother of the child.

Aldo Salazar, Chairman of Senate Hearings

“In relation to the adult, I’m asking for the benefit of my colleagues because I am familiar with this process a bit, but in terms of the adult who is coming and wants to try to pay some money to get a document that he is not entitled to you said that there is more than one person who would have to collude in order to produce that document?”

Patricia Hinkson – Deputy Registrar of Vital Statistics Unit

“Both the fixer and the verifier. We try to talk to them on a daily basis.”