Public Consultation Invited for Freedom of Information Bill

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 As a result, FOIA No. 10 of 2012 will be repealed by FOIA 2016.”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

You may also be interested in reading...

Bahamians Partnering in New Andros Marina Village

April 20, 2017

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie congratulated his friend of many years, Mr. Prescott Smith and his business partner Ms. Geneva Wilson on the groundbreaking

READ MORE

Minister Gray Supports Youth Sailing with Sir Durward Knowles National Junior Sailing Regatta

April 19, 2017

Over 100 young sailors will be participating in this year’s annual Sir Durward Knowles National Junior Sailing Regatta, from Andros, Abaco, Grand Bahama, Exuma, Long Island, Eleuthera and New Providence,

READ MORE

Urban Renewal Celebrates Completion of 20 Uplifting Services Throughout New Providence

April 19, 2017

A spirit of hope prevailed as Mother Rachael Mackey bellowed the words of the song “The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow” as Urban Renewal Commission 2.0 moved its Community

READ MORE

Support Stronger Bahamas on your website!

GET our SNIPPET

Thank you

for supporting

Stronger Bahamas.

To add our Stronger Bahamas banner to your website, please have your site's administrator copy the code snippet below and paste it into the appropriate area of your site.

Share your voice!