Basseterre, St.Kitts (September 10th 2015):- Prime Minister of St.Kitts-Nevis Dr. the Hon Timothy Harris announced during the September edition of his monthly Press Conference on Wednesday 9th that the Landmark Freedom of Information Act will finally come to the parliament for debate.
The Freedom of Information Act is a law that gives the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Under this piece of legislation persons are given the right , enforced by law, to gain access to government records except to the extent that such records (or portions of them) are protected from public disclosure for various reasons.
The Freedom of Information Act is expected foster and or enhance the transparency and increase accountability of State institutions in the Federation.
The Act was heavily touted and promoted by the Team UNITY Alliance in the lead up to Elections as one of the pillars of a new Team UNITY Government. The bringing to debate in the Parliament of the Act is a fulfillment of a promise made by the historic Team UNITY.
“Parliament will be in session next week September 15. Among the main Issues that will be discussed will be the Freedom of Information which is one of the platforms areas we(Team UNITY) promised to legislate in the first year, said Prime Minister Harris.
The Latin American and Caribbean region has seen an impressive number of countries adopting freedom of information (FOI) laws in the past decade. St.Kitts-Nevis is one of the few remaining Latin American and Caribbean countries that have yet to introduce the Act.
Currently, 19 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have national FOI laws: Antigua and Barbuda (2004); Belize (1994); Brazil (2011); Colombia (1985); Chile (2008); Dominican Republic (2004); Ecuador (2004); El Salvador (2011); Guatemala (2008); Guyana (2013); Honduras (2006); Jamaica (2002); Mexico (2002); Nicaragua (2007); Panama (2002); Peru (2002), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (2003) and Trinidad and Tobago (1999). A Presidential Decree on FOI exists in Argentina (2003).
The Dr. Timothy Harris led Team UNITY whilst in Opposition campaigned relentlessly for the introduction of the legislation to bring a level of transparency to the governance of the federation. The debate of the act is seen as a major promise fulfilled by the Team UNITY Administration.
In reference to the announcement of the debate of the Act PM Harris simply stated “PROMISE MADE PROMISE KEPT !!!”