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

New Providence Roads to be Repaired Says Deputy Prime Minister

Authored by: Kathryn Campbell Source: Bahamas Information Services Date: March 30, 2016   NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Bahamas Government is implementing the Road Maintenance and Management System of the New Providence Infrastructure Improvement Programme. The system is advocated by the Inter-American Development Bank-funded Institutional Strengthening component of the road works programme. The Hon. Philip…

Farewell Reception Held for the Chinese Ambassador to The Bahamas

Authored by: Llonella Gilbert Source: Bahamas Information Services Date: March 28, 2016   Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell presents His Excellency Yuan Guisen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, with a gift at the Farewell Reception in honour of the…

Ministry of Health Press Release – Ebola Remains Unlikely

Authored by: Ministry of Health Source: Ministry of Health Date: March 28, 2016   The Ministry of Health and its agencies including the Public Hospitals Authority, Department of Public Health and the Pan American Health Organization in an update this morning maintains that a suspected case of Ebola at the Princess Margret Hospital is unlikely….

Ministry of foreign affairs press statement on allegations regarding the nationality of the belgium bombing suspect

NASSAU, Bahamas, 24 March, 2016 — The Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas expresses its prayers and sympathy to the Government and people of the Kingdom of Belgium over the tragic loss of life, injury and destruction during the recent terrorist attacks. The Government reaffirms its commitment to the fight against terrorism in all…

Statement on the Belgium Bombings

The Bahamas stands with the people of Belgium today in the face of another act of terror that demonstrates the all too real radicalization of extremist views in modern life. We pledge to continue to work together with the world community to stop these atrocities. We offer our condolences and sympathy to the Government and…