JAMAICA: New Disclosure Law Passes

29 June 2002

While the regulations still have to be drafted and approved, and the Civil Service still needs to be adequately trained, the Jamaican Senate yesterday passed the Access to Information Bill. According to a news report in the Jamaican Observer, the passage of the information bill by the Senate concludes a 10-year process to provide the public with a right of access to information produced by state agencies. The measure goes next before the governor general for his assent. While pro-openness advocates are pleased with the Jamaican decision, they are up in arms over section 5(6), in particular, para d), Sections 15 and 19, as well as the non-repeal of the Official Secrets Act (see Section 35), which as Jeremy Pope of Transparency International (Jamaica) stated is “chiefly responsible for our culture of secrecy in governance.”

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