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Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced February 1 in Parliament that he has appointed a committee with the approval of Cabinet to examine the Official Secrets Act. This committee will recommend the measures that will need to be put in place to provide the level of confidentiality that a Government will need to function.

"What I expect is that the Official Secrets will go and we will put in its place something that is more appropriate, that is not as restrictive, that allows Government to operate within the levels of confidentiality that Government and certain levels of Government should operate but still allows for access to information and the disclosure of information in those circumstances that would undermine the central need for secrecy and confidentiality. Mr. Golding cited matters to deal with security, and certain financial considerations that would need to be treated in a particular way.

He said he has asked the Committee to consider all those factors and make a recommendation.

The Committee will be chaired by Cabinet Secretary, Ambassador Douglas Saunders. Other members are: Senior Legal Advisor and Consultant to the Minister of Justice on Constitutional matters, Hon. Shirley Miller, Director of the Legal Reform Division, Dr. Aileen Boxhill QC, Director International Affairs Division, Ministry of Justice, Dr. Kathy Ann Brown, Acting Chief Personnel Officer in the Services Commission, Lois Parks and President of the Jamaica Civil Service Association, Wayne Jones.                                                                                                                                            

The protected disclosure bill was passed with 12 amendments and will be sent back to the Senate.

The Act will encourage and facilitate the making by employees of specified disclosures of improper conduct in the public interest and regulate the receiving, investigating or otherwise dealing with disclosures of improper conduct. It will also seek to protect employees who make specified disclosures of improper conduct and will protect them from being subjected to occupational detriment.

Mr. Golding made the announcements in parliament Tuesday February 1.

 

Issued by: The Office of the Prime Minister