Statement by Sen. Hon. Sandrea Falconer to mark ‘International Right to Know Day’


Jamaica is proud to join the global community in recognising 'International Right to Know Day' 2012.

We do so against the background of the considerable progress which has been made since the passage of the Access to Information Act of 2002. This has led to the opening up of public access to information as part of government’s commitment to foster greater transparency, accountability and responsibility in governance and the management of public affairs.

The public has a right to information and that right is increasingly being exercised through more and more applications for information being received by public bodies. Last year, some 1260 applications for information were received compared to 449 in 2006. This represents a 180% increase in the five year period. Of significance too, is the fact that the vast majority of these applications for information are favourably responded to and granted. Less than 1 per cent of applications for information end up being refused.

This government, in fulfilment of its commitment to the people’s right to know, will continue to ensure an effective regime exists which is responsive to the needs of the public and civil society for information. This is vital to the process of holding public bodies and public officials accountable for the actions and decisions made on behalf of those to whom they are responsible.

I call on all stakeholders – civil society groups, public sector employees, elected officials, private sector groups, the media and members of the public to use this ‘International Right to Know Day’ to meaningfully reflect on the important rights guaranteed and our strong democratic traditions nurtured through commitment to the highest levels of probity, transparency, accountability and public participation.

In welcoming the observance of 'International Right to Know Day', let me assure Jamaicans of this administration’s continued support in protecting and advancing the public’s right to access information. I encourage everyone to use their right to know in order to actively participate in the process of responsible governance.

 

Sen. the Hon. Sandrea Falconer

Minister without Portfolio, Information

September 28, 2012

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