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Jan 27, 2003

Vital Statistics Unit goes high tech

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In Belize, it’s the document you live and die by: your birth certificate. It’s your ticket to acquire a social security card, passport, voter registration, and even a seat in school. And now the Vital Statistics Unit has gone from this…thumbing through ancient registers, to this, clicking a button…to access records from all over the country. According to the Assistant Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Lovinia Daniels, so far some two hundred and eighty-two thousand entries have been made into the new system. She says the technology means you will spend less time waiting in line.

Lovinia Daniels, Assistant Registrar

“We have like close to two hundred applications that we accept per day for birth certificates…It has cut down the searching time by like almost a hundred percent. We [had to] do manually, we have two registers that we need to search, we search for the person’s name in an index and then we would go to a register to pick up the person’s entry. That would be very time consuming, and in some cases where the parents had not registered a child in time, sometimes we would have to search the book for like a whole year before we find an entry. But with the computer we just put in the person’s name and it comes up, so we just go to the record.”

Vital statistics will begin producing the new birth certificates by April first. It is envisioned that by the end of the year, death certificates will also be added to the system. Improvements to the unit were made possible through the Government of Belize and the Organization of American States at a cost of two hundred thousand Belize dollars.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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