Open Data Portal to Improve Transparency – Dr. Wheatley

Photo: Michael Sloley Minister of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET), Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, provides details about the open data portal during a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on June 22. The portal will be launched on Friday, June 24.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET) Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, says the open data portal will promote greater transparency in Government by increasing the State’s engagement with citizens and businesses, and removing barriers in accessing information.
  • Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on June 22, Minister Wheatley said the portal, which is the first of its kind in the Caribbean, will provide a “one-stop shop” for all government information.
  • He noted that with Jamaica operating in a global marketplace where persons want to invest in the country “the portal will have a significant impact on Jamaicans as well as the international community”.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET) Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, says the open data portal will promote greater transparency in Government by increasing the State’s engagement with citizens and businesses, and removing barriers in accessing information.

The portal, which is being funded by the World Bank, will be launched on Friday (June 24).

Open data is information usually generated by the Government that can be freely used, reused and redistributed without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms.

The system allows persons to go to a dedicated government website and access data that can influence decisions such as investment.

An open data readiness assessment conducted by the World Bank in 2014, found that Jamaica was ready for such a system.

Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on June 22, Minister Wheatley said the portal, which is the first of its kind in the Caribbean, will provide a “one-stop shop” for all government information.

He said that by using the facility, persons will be able to glean critical data in order to make informed decisions.

“You can compare socio-economic standing relative to national security, relative to education and health-care services,” he pointed out.

Director of Technology in the Ministry, Gary Campbell, noted that the system provides ready and easy access to information “which primarily you would have had to go to many different places to find”.

“It provides the data in a machine-readable format, which enables you to take it and place it in any other format, that you desire,” he said further.

He noted that with Jamaica operating in a global marketplace where persons want to invest in the country “the portal will have a significant impact on Jamaicans as well as the international community”.

Some of the entities that will have data readily available upon the launch include MSET; Ministries of Health; National Security; Education, Youth and Information; National Land Agency (NLA); Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN); and The Bank of Jamaica.

The portal can be accessed at www.data.gov.jm

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