The People’s Progressive Party has never consulted internally on whether it would support a Freedom of Information Legislation.
This is according to the party’s General Secretary Donald Ramotar, yesterday at a press conference at the party’s headquarters, Freedom House on Robb Street.
According to Ramotar, “We have not examined it as yet… the whole draft, the legislation and what it entails.”
Ramotar conceded that the PPP may have to do so some time in future.
This statement comes from the party’s general secretary a short while after Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Minister of Health Dr Leslie Ramsammy conceded that the enactment of the legislation was inevitable.
Despite acknowledging its inevitability, the Prime Minister had said that Guyana was already experiencing some 80 per cent of freedom of information, in that the Government already makes information available in a proactive manner.
The Prime Minister made this statement recently at a forum to discuss the mining situation.
“Government sectors have introduced, and have been providing through TV, radio, newsprint, Internet and public consultations, information on routine policy and mandatory matters, Cabinet press briefing, GRA annual reports of awards of duty free concessions and remissions, the budget process with the submissions of audited statements of state entities, Ministry of Finance reports on tendering and procurement, websites as accessible as can be, having been created for most ministries and agencies.”
The essence of the Freedom of Information Bill Act, according to the Commonwealth Parliament Association (CPA), is the empowerment of the populace to request any piece of information (with few exemptions, such as medical records) held by a public authority.
One such utilization of the Act was cited by a renowned Trinidadian journalist, Sasha Mohammad, at a recent CPA workshop held for media operatives and Parliamentarians.
According to Mohammad, one such incident was where there was a request for the salaries and monies paid to the director of a bank.
Hinds also told media operatives that the enactment of the FOIA required extensive preparatory work, such as the enhanced recording, storage and recovery of information required, among others.
Leader of the Alliance For Change, Raphael Trotman, who is primarily the driving force behind the legislation, tabled a draft of the FOIA in 2006 but subsequently deferred in order to save it from being thrown out during its first reading.
He later clarified that the move was done to allow Government time for study and assessment of the administrative implications of the bill, and to allow for broad-based consultations.
According to Trotman, a compromise with Government will be crucial if the bill is to see the light of day.
During the debate on the 2007 Budget, Trotman had indicated that the passage of legislation to allow access to information is more important than personal endeavours, and indicated his willingness to step aside and allow the Government to take up the initiative.
The bill proposed by Trotman is based on the Trinidad model, which has been criticized by the Government, saying that it had too many flaws.
According to Trotman, the idea of freedom of information must now be expanded from the political realm to that of a multi-stakeholder-driven agenda. He noted that everyone — not just politicians — must become involved in the process, and consensus must be arrived at.
Oct 14, 2019The Trophy Stall, one of the leading trophy and engraving entities in Guyana and a top sponsor of sporting events throughout the country, is already on board for the Nand Persaud and Company Mega One...
Oct 14, 2019
Oct 14, 2019
Oct 14, 2019
Oct 13, 2019
Oct 13, 2019
Cyril Belgrave, one of the finest politicians the PPP produced, died this week. His death coincided with information I stumbled... more
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]