State Agencies Meeting Requests For Information


Since the implementation of the Access to Information Act on January 5, 11 of the 55 applications for access to official documents have been completely addressed.
Information Minister Senator Burchell Whiteman made the announcement while addressing the 54th Annual General Meeting of the Library and Information Association of Jamaica, held at the Institute of Jamaica in Kingston on February 13. Under the Act, it is required that requests for access to official documents be met within 30 days.
The Act, which is being introduced on a phased basis and is in force at seven public sector agencies will, within 18 months, be applied to some 200 government entities.
Senator Whiteman pointed out that implementing the Act 18 months after its passage placed Jamaica ahead of the United Kingdom, which had opted to do so after five years and Canada, which is in the process of making amendments to its legislation.
“We have taken an ambitious route of starting roughly 18 months,” after implementation, he pointed out, noting that the Act makes provision for revision two years from the date of implementation.
The Information Minister further noted that the Act was the Government’s way of empowering Jamaicans and giving them a stake in the functioning of the state.
He said that all requests for information would be met except those exempted under the Act, including matters relating to national security, trade, copyright material and personal information.

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