My last post touched on the importance of transparency – and readily available government information – for the proper functioning of a democracy. Fellow blogger Susan Goffe’s new post seems an appropriate follow up, although it’s quite a frustrating story (hopefully though it might have a happy ending). We have laws designed to make citizens’ lives easier, and must ensure that this one – the Access to Information Act – works for us as it should.
Jamaica’s Access to Information (ATI) Act was passed in 2002 and I believe, despite some of the weaknesses which remain in its provisions, it is an extremely important and potentially powerful tool for members of the public.
The following objectives are stated in the legislation:
In addition to some problems with the legislation itself, there can be challenges to getting the requested information. Sometimes use of the Act goes smoothly; sometimes it does not. Here’s a recent and still ongoing experience of mine.
June 17, 2016
I heard a radio news report about a speech that the Minister of National Security Robert Montague had given at a function the day before, in which he had made comments about people committing crimes while on bail and the need to make changes to the Bail Act because of this.
By email, I made the following request to the Ministry of National Security…
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