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  • Students are being reminded that the deadline for submission of entries to the ATI National High School Essay Competition is Friday, January 31, 2014.
  • Director of the ATI Unit, Damian Cox says the competition is designed to give Jamaican youth the opportunity to become aware of the ATI Act (2002).
  • Interested parties can visit the essay competition section of the ATI Unit’s website: http://www.ati.gov.jm/content/ati-essay-competition-2012-0

Students are being reminded that the deadline for submission of entries to the Access to Information (ATI) National High School Essay Competition is Friday, January 31, 2014.

In celebration of the 11th Annual International Right to Know Day, which was celebrated on September 28, 2013, the ATI Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister and its ATI Advisory Stakeholder Committee launched the fifth annual Essay Competition and invited all registered High School students from third to sixth forms to participate in the competition.

Students are required to discuss the topic: ‘The Access to Information Act (2002) is critical for enabling citizens to exercise their voice, to effectively monitor and hold government accountable, and to enter into informed dialogue about decisions which affect their lives’, in 2,500 words.

According to Director of the ATI Unit, Damian Cox, the competition is designed to give Jamaican youth the opportunity to become aware of the ATI Act (2002), which gives citizens the legal right to obtain government held information, which is necessary for the good governance of any country.

Mr. Cox noted that the two primary responsibilities of the ATI Unit are to spearhead and guide the implementation and administration of the ATI Act.

The Act provides the public with a general right of access to official documents held by public authorities, subject to exemptions, “which balance that right against the public interest in exempting from disclosure, governmental, commercial or personal information of a sensitive nature.”

It also seeks to reinforce and give further effect to certain fundamental principles underlying the system of constitutional democracy, namely governmental accountability, transparency and public participation in national decision-making.

The winner, second and third places, will receive cash awards of $50,000, $30,000 and $20,000, respectively, in addition to trophies.

For more information, interested parties can visit the essay competition section of the ATI Unit’s website: http://www.ati.gov.jm/content/ati-essay-competition-2012-0; Telephone 968-8282, 968-3166; Fax: 926-9491 or email: ati@cwjamaica.com.