Bermuda Takes Steps to Implement 2010 Law

18 July 2014

Bermuda’s Premier Michael Dunkley on July 4 tabled the Public Access to Information Regulations 2014 and the Public Access to Information Amendment Bill 2014, according to an article in The Royal Gazette.

The implementation regulations and the proposed amendments comes four years since the July 2010 passage of the law. He said the Act will come into operation on April 1, 2015. Text: PDF here.

The regulations cover topics such as the timeframe for delivery of information and the fees to be charged.

“In addition to the draft Regulations, the Bill proposing amendments to the Public Access to Information Act 2010 is intended to bring further clarity to the existing provisions pertaining to notice periods, penalties and exemptions from disclosure,” Dunkley was quoted as saying.

Dunkley said:

From that date, members of the public will be able to make requests for information under PATI. For a relatively modest cost, they can obtain copies of that information. However, in accordance with the legislation, not everything is accessible, as there are certain kinds of information outlined in the legislation which are exempted from release.

The Premier said there will be training opportunities for public servants.

Delay Criticized

The delay in implementation was described as “not reasonable” by Toby Mendel, executive director of the Centre for Demcracy and Law, a Canadian-based organization. He was quoted in another article in The Royal Gazette which describes the law’s history.

Mendel said:

Even a two-year delay, which is relatively common, is unduly long in my view, since it just doesn’t take public authorities that long to get ready to implement such a law. A five-year delay is just a way of putting off implementation.

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