The Bahamas Launches New Online Notary Application System

Just last week, I announced that now, Marriage Officers and Justices of the Peace are listed online. Marriage Officers can initiate and complete marriage licenses through the Civil Registry Information System on the Registrar General Department’s website. Citizens may find JPs online at the Office of the Attorney General’s website.

During that announcement, I indicated that we expected to launch a new online Notary Application System and that all licensed Notaries Public would be listed on the Office of the Attorney General’s website by the end of 2016. I am happy to announce that we have exceeded our own expectations. Tomorrow, Friday November 12th, this system will be available for the use of Notaries Public and the list of licensed Notaries Public will also be easily accessible for the Bahamian public online.

This new online Notary Application System represents yet another bold step toward the digitalization of essential government services; the modernization of processes in the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Legal Affairs; and the enhancement of the ease of doing business in The Bahamas. I am told that it also makes The Bahamas the first country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to implement a system of this kind.

Using the current Government of The Bahamas registration process, it will be possible to register for the online renewal service and be given login credentials.

To renew licenses, a Notary will sign-in to his/her account, pay the renewal fee and a new license certificate will be generated, with a digital signature and seal.

Lawyers who wish to apply for a Notary license for the first time will also be able to do so online by simply filling out the online form; uploading a scanned image of their certificate evidencing Call to The Bahamas Bar; and paying the required fee- online- all without human intervention.

Applicants who have any trouble with this new system will be able to email our help desk for assistance.

As we facilitate ease of doing business we are also focusing on compliance. In the event that it is determined that the applicant is not called to The Bahamas Bar the Notary Public licence will be revoked immediately and the public notified of the revocation.

We have come a long way from the days before 2014 when the Attorney General manually signed every notary certificate after staff manually checked whether the applicant was called to the Bar. This process could have taken many months causing considerable delays and angst among lawyers who notarized documents. Today so long as the applicant is in good standing and his Call certificate is in the data base the certificate can be issued promptly.

In today’s world people have every right to expect the ability to do business directly with the Government.

I want to signal my intention to ask for a small increase in the notary fee so that we may reinvest in our hardware and software to enable us to be cutting edge as we serve the public.

I commend out Team at the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Information Technology and the Point Alliance, for realizing ahead of schedule this important undertaking.

I close by advising brothers and sisters in the Family Islands (from Abaco to Inagua) of the imminent announcement of a fixed schedule for the Registrar of Births and Deaths to travel to the Family Islands to register births and issue birth certificates. While there the Registrar will train Administrators, morticians and doctors how to use the online register of deaths.

Our target remains as stated in 2012 – to have an entirely online Registrar General’s Department.

Thank you.

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