JIS News

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  • Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Access to Information (ATI) Act establishes a system that ensures transparency and accountability, which are critical elements in tackling corruption.
  • Mr. Green said the legislation also represents an empowering tool for Jamaicans to “take control of their country.”
  • The Act grants to the public, a general right of access to official documents (other than documents that are exempt) held by public authorities.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Access to Information (ATI) Act establishes a system that ensures transparency and accountability, which are critical elements in tackling corruption.

“It is often said that corruption impedes economic growth, undermines the rule of law and really tears down the fabric of society,” he pointed out.

The Minister was speaking at the launch of the ATI Unit’s National High School Essay Competition at Jamaica House on September 27.

Mr. Green said the legislation also represents an empowering tool for Jamaicans to “take control of their country.”

“It (allows) our citizens to …recognise that governance and the running of the country is not only the purview of the politician, not only the purview of a leader, but it is the purview of the citizen and those who follow,” he said.

“What better way to keep a politician in check than if you ensure that you know what is happening in your communities?. Now we have no reason not to utilise the facilities that are provided,” he noted further.

Mr. Green, in endorsing the essay competition, said it will assist in developing a culture of transparency and accountability among the nation’s students.

He said it will also assist students to become familiar with the Act and allow them to recognise that “if they have a question in relation to a government agency, in relation to the parish council, that there is an avenue that they can get that question answered.”

High school students are invited to submit essays from September 28 to January 31, 2017 under the theme: ‘The Access to Information Act is playing a significant role in improving accountability and transparency in Jamaica. Discuss.’

Entries should be sent to Access to Information Unit, 5-9 South Odeon Avenue, Kingston 10 or by email to ati@cwjamaica.com. Persons may also call 968-3166/968-8282 for more information.

The competition is part of activities for Right to Know Week, which runs from September 25 to October 1, 2016.

The objectives of the essay competition are: for students to appreciate the value of the ATI Act as a research tool; learn more about and explore the Act; to get the youth interested in governance issues and matters of national importance; and to encourage academic excellence among high schools students in the area of English Language.

The Act grants to the public, a general right of access to official documents (other than documents that are exempt) held by public authorities. Official documents are those in the possession, custody or control of a public authority held in connection with its functions.

The ATI Unit has been established to spearhead and guide the implementation and administration of the Act.  The unit falls under the purview of the Office of the Prime Minister.