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FOIA 2nd Day

Press Release Date: April 9, 2013

Location: Belize City, Belize


Kingston Ja. March 21, 2013 – Day two of the Regional Conference on Freedom of Information in the Commonwealth Caribbean dealing with “Improving Management for the Environment” focused on Enforcement of Freedom of Information legislation in Caribbean and Latin America.

Laura Newman from The Carter Center – Global Access to Information Initiative described the many models available in various jurisdictions and explained that this is the most challenging aspect for government, yet it is the most important otherwise the whole system becomes “meaningless”. In looking at examples across the world she noted that while there are four basic models, the measurement to determine its success is whether it involves how timely response are received; how less bureaucratic the process is; and how tolerant the political culture is.

Presenting the Jamaica position was Chairman of the Access To Information Appeal Tribunal, Dorothy Pine-McLarty, who says that their work has been possible because the appointment to the Tribunal is with approval of both government and the opposition; they are allowed to be fully independent and only competent professionals able to deals with the issues are appointed.

Coming out of the second day session during the discussions on the implementation of Accesses to Information and Freedom of Information is the formation of a regional network that will serve as a support system to the various jurisdictions wanting to move ahead with either passage of the relevant legislation, implementation and enforcement. Representatives hail from Grenada, St. Vincent & The Grenadines; Trinidad & Tobago; Guyana; Bahamas; St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Lucia; Antigua, Dominican Republic; Chile; Cayman Islands and Belize.

The conference concludes today at which recommendation to improve access to information will be presented.