JIS News

The Ministry of Transport and Works, in collaboration with the Access to Information Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), will host an Open Day tomorrow (Wednesday, October 27), to allow the public to view documents that fall within the scope of the Access to Information Act.
The Open Day will be held at 138H Maxfield Avenue in Kingston, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and will include an exhibition in the Ministry’s foyer.A computer station with general information on the Access to Information (ATI) Act 2002 will be also available, and persons desirous of obtaining information from the Ministry can do so during this time.
Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Alwin Hayles will be on hand to answer any questions or queries.
The Access to Information Act, which was passed in the Houses of Parliament in June 2002, became effective on January 5 this year. The implementation process however, which began with seven entities, is expected to see full implementation in all other Ministries and Agencies by 2005.
The entities in which the Act is in force are the Office of the Prime Minister, Cabinet Office, the Ministries of Finance and Planning, Local Government, Community Development and Sport; Agriculture; Commerce, Science and Technology; Education, Youth and Culture; Water and Housing; Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Transport and Works; Justice; National Security; and Labour and Social Security, the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the National Works Agency (NWA), the Accountant General’s Department, Bank of Jamaica (BoJ), and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).
Anyone requiring information from an organisation or public authority affected by the ATI Act must submit a request to the organisation’s Responsible Officer, clearly identifying the document they wish to access.
These requests can be made via telephone, e-mail, letter or fax, and forms will be made available for written requests. It is imperative though, that the applicant and the Responsible Officer work together to fine tune the request so that the correct document is provided.
The organisation then has 30 days in which to respond to the request. However, if there are documents that the organisation has to source from elsewhere or get permission to reproduce, this may take a longer time so an additional 30 days is allowed. But 60 days is the maximum allowance given to these entities to honour the applicant’s request.
If an applicant is refused access to a document or is dissatisfied with the service he or she receives, an appeal can be filed.

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