Jamaican Access to Information Act on target for October

News From Jamaica where the first phase of the Access to Information Act is still on target for its October deadline, according to Information Minister Burchell Whiteman.

The Act seeks to promote accountability and transparency by giving public access to official documents in government bodies, subject to exempt provisions.

The Act, passed last June, originally had an August implementation date. But the OPM said it needed more time to tie up a number of areas, including the training of civil servants.

The Act was passed even though there was strong opposition from several quarters.

The most recent criticism came in April by Canadian information policy consultant, Dr David Flaherty, who said that the legislation is full of loopholes which allow Government to effect exemptions when it sees fit. He also said the Act would require a significant change in the mindset of civil servants in order to be effective.

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