Home » St. Kitts and Nevis federal parliament passes freedom of information amendment bill

St. Kitts and Nevis federal parliament passes freedom of information amendment bill

by Derek Andrews
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The Federal Parliament of St. Kitts and Nevis on Friday voted to pass the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill, which introduces basic modifications to the liberty of knowledge framework beneath present laws and can codify key enhancements that can improve the federal government’s operational effectivity, promote transparency within the rule of regulation and restrict, if not eradicate, situations of oversight beneath the nation’s present mannequin.

The modification invoice, in keeping with Lawyer Normal and Minister of Justice and Authorized Affairs Garth Wilkin, introduces new mechanisms that permit for members of the general public, in addition to the press, to entry non-confidential authorities data whereas nonetheless defending the extra delicate areas of nationwide safety, business pursuits, and public well being. Authorities our bodies or subsidiaries thereof shall be entitled to refuse to speak data if it falls throughout the scope of those, and extra protected areas.

Moreover, the modification invoice additionally establishes the perform of the “Info Commissioner” (Commissioner), to be served by both the nation’s Ombudsman or the Particular Prosecutor. As outlined beneath Half 5 of the Act, the Commissioner shall be liable for “supervising the entry course of, dealing with complaints, conducting investigations, creating insurance policies, and reporting to the nationwide meeting” and shall be appointed for a three-year time period, twice renewable. Moreover, they won’t be allowed to carry one other public workplace concurrently. AG Wilkin defined the rationale behind the modification, highlighting the overlapping mandates of the Ombudsman and Commissioner and the potential for budgetary effectivity:

The intention of the ministry is for the Ombudsman to additionally function the Info Commissioner as a result of each posts have overlapping duties and, for budgetary causes, given the workload of each workplaces, it may be managed by one public officer.

In response to AG Wilkin, the nation’s present Acting Ombudsman, Reverend Bishop Cyprian Williams, is predicted to tackle the twin position.

Earlier this week, the island nation’s federal Parliament additionally handed the Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill, which revises the remuneration and tenure of the ombudsman in gentle of latest developments within the nation’s “good governance” framework, of which the Freedom of Info (Modification) Invoice varieties a significant half.

The Freedom of Info (Modification) Invoice had its first studying on February 22, 2024. Following its passing throughout the second studying, the invoice is expected to be learn a 3rd time, after which it will likely be despatched to the Governor Normal for his assent and revealed within the Gazette, the place it will likely be known as an Act and are available into impact as regulation.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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