So we have a chance to help craft the legislation which should help us as Bajan consumers have access to more information from government and statutory corporations.
Starting at 7 p.m every evening Town Hall meetings on the Freedom of Information Bill at Combermere, October 15th (today); Alexandra School, October 22nd, Deighton Griffith School, October 29th and November 5th at Princess Margaret School are scheduled.
Citizens also have an opportunity to read the draft legislation and comment in written form.
Comments and other submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
It should be noted that the ads. I have seen do not say where written submissions may be sent or that there is a deadline of October 31st, two days before the Deighton Griffith School public meeting and five days after the last Town Hall meeting.
There must be some logic or illogic about setting a deadline for submissions before the Town hall meeting process has been completed. (lol)
To what extent will this legislation streamline access to information given that the citizen is expecting the wheels of Government to turn, in the event of an appeal against a government entity that refuses to provide information on request? Some information has a short shelf life depending on the urgency of the need. So approval of information when it is no longer needed does not contribute to improved transparency.
At what level will officers of government and statutory corporations have the authority to provide information in an expeditious manner.
Despite the fact that the Fair Trading Commission does not require a FOIA to provide basic information to the public will the new laws guarantee that this organisation starts to understand its role to be transparent and provide citizens with information they need to make comments of substance based on hard facts. Who will bell the cat for complaints against the FTC, the Ombudsman?
The point posed is that we have a considerable "culture change" challenge when it comes to accessing information in a timely fashion.
Will new rules and regulations change this?
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