Public consultation invited for Freedom of Information Bill

Posted on: March 13, 2016

Authored by: Kathryn Campbell
Source: Bahamas Information Services
Date: April 13, 2016

 

Minister+Fitzgerald&Freedom+of+Information+Act+Press+Conf+April+13,+2016.++032356+EDIT

Education, Science and Technology Minister the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald (4th from left) at the press conference to announce public consultation for the Freedom of Information Bill.  Also shown from left: Shantal Taylor, Office of the Attorney General; Fern Bowleg, Office of  the Attorney General; Janice Knowles, Senior Education Officer, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; Shane Miller and Shari Mackey, Office of  the Attorney General.  (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)

 

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Bahamas Government has officially launched the Freedom of Information Bill and has planned a series of Town Meetings for public consultation on the process.

 

The Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald, Minister of Education, Science and Technology made the announcement, Wednesday, April 13 during a press conference at the Ministry’s headquarters on Thompson Boulevard.

 

Minister Fitzgerald said the Bill is of “utmost importance has “far-reaching implications” and will strengthen the country’s democracy.

 

“The Bill requires that due diligence is given to ensure that the new and progressive legislation is properly instituted from the onset,” he said. “Our aim is to have a very systematic implementation plan and in order for that to happen, we must have certain things in place.”

 

According to Minister Fitzgerald, the objective of the Bill is to give effect to “governmental accountability, transparency and public participation in national decision-making by granting to the public a general right of access to public records held by public authorities, subject to exemptions which balance that right against the public interest in exempting from government disclosure in certain circumstances.”

 

A committee comprising representatives from the Office of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the College of the Bahamas (LL.B Department), the Archives and the Data Protection Commissioner has been selected and has been meeting since June of 2015 to examine the provisions of the existing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to determine whether changes would be recommended in accordance with other jurisdictions and international best practices.

 

The Minister informed that as a result of concerns raised by members of civil society regarding FOIA No. 10 of 2012, which was passed in January 2012, the Act was not brought back into force.

 

“Taking into consideration the concerns raised by various members of society and international organizations, an Amendment to the Act would have been extensive indeed. It was therefore decided to create a new Bill. As a result, FOIA No. 10 of 2012 will be repealed by FOIA 2016.”

 

Minister Fitzgerald said the proposed legislation will usher in a “paradigm shift” in The Bahamas and the Government is determined to bring the Act into effect in the shortest possible time following consultation with the public.

 

The public is invited to submit suggestions to the Committee via email or letter to the Office of the Attorney General.

 

A Fact Sheet is available on the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology’s website, www.ministryofeducationbahamas.com and its Facebook page on Facebook search Ministry of Education Bahamas.

 

Meetings will be held as follows:

 

April 18th – Harry C. Moore Library, College of the Bahamas from 7 pm to 8:30 pm

 

April 25th – Grand Bahama

 

May 2nd – Eleuthera

 

May 4th – Exuma

 

May 12th – Abaco

 

May 12th – Abaco



All News

REMARKS BY THE HON. DARREN HENFIELD, OUTGOING CHAIRMAN OF COFCOR

Remarks delivered by The Honourable Darren A. Henfield, MP, Outgoing Chair of COFCOR. at the opening of the 22nd Meeting of the COFCOR by Bahamas’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, St. George’s, Grenada. It is with distinct pleasure that I have been able to preside over this very important organ of the Caribbean Community, the Council…

THE HON. DARREN HENFIELD ATTENDS 22ND COFCOR MEETING – ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Minister Henfield attends 22nd COFCOR Meeting in Grenada ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada — The Honourable Darren Henfield, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs led a delegation to the 22nd Meeting of the Council of Foreign and Community Relations COFCOR. The meeting which took place on the 13 and 14 of May, was attended by…

BAHAMIAN NAMED 2019 YOUNG DIPLOMAT OF THE YEAR

Press Release London, UK: On Monday 29th April 2019, Mr. Wilfred T. Adderley II, Second Secretary/Vice Consul, at The Bahamas High Commission received the award for Young Diplomat of the Year for 2019 at the 11th Diplomat Awards Ceremony organised by DIPLOMAT Magazine.The awards ceremony was held at the Jumeirah Carlton Towers and was attended…

Passing of Sir Alister McIntyre

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, on behalf of the Government and people of The Bahamas, extends sincere condolences to the family and friends of Sir Alister McIntyre, who passed away on 20 April 2019.   He was a statesman and international public servant who, among many important achievements, led…

MRS. ERICA WARD, FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER DELIVERS PRESENTATION AT SPEAKER’S FORUM

Mrs. Erica Ward Addresses Colleagues at Speaker’s Forum On Tuesday, 23rd April 2019, Mrs. Erica Ward delivered a presentation on her participation in “Juntos!! Japan-Latin America and The Caribbean Exchange Programme”, held in Tokyo, Japan from the 3rd to 11th March, 2019. The programme was designed to encourage an understanding of Japan’s society, diverse culture,…