The Gaston Browne-led Administration has failed, to date, to
provide meaningful responses in several matters of public concern – including the most recent scandal involving the disappearance of monies belonging to the Port Authority.
Accordingly, the United Progressive Party (UPP) has delivered ten (10) letters to various civil servants and heads of statutory bodies requesting that they provide certain information in keeping with the provisions of Part III of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The letters, delivered on January 10, 2018, were also copied to the Information Commissioner, who is responsible for ensuring adherence to the Act, which stipulates that a written response to the request for information shall be provided “as soon as practicable and in any event within twenty (20) working days of receipt of the request.”
In 2004, the United Progressive Party Administration passed into law a trilogy of legislation designed to promote integrity and prohibit corruption in public office.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was an integral part of that trilogy. This Act is described as “An Act to promote maximum disclosure of information in the public interest, to guarantee and
facilitate the right of access to information and to provide for effective mechanisms to secure that right.”
Prime Minister Browne has repeatedly boasted of his government’s transparency. Therefore, the UPP expects that he and the other members of the political directorate will resist any temptation to intervene or in any way adversely influence the civil servants and other public officers whose duty it is to provide the requested information in keeping with
the rule of law.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 17, the UPP will share with the public the specific content of the letters submitted in a live broadcast, titled “Ask Gaston,” via radio and Internet, at 8 p.m., on Crusader Radio, 107.3 FM.
The drafters of the FOIA stipulated that the purpose of the law is to “give effect to the provisions of the Constitution (particularly section 12) conferring the right to receive and disseminate information.”
They went on to assert that “the Act will facilitate the right of the
public to have access to information held by public authorities in order to further the public interest by promoting informed discussion of public affairs and greater accountability of public authorities.”
Hence, additional letters will be dispatched as we continue to pursue transparency and accountability in keeping with the principles of good governance and participatory
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