Trinidad and Tobago

What's New

  • 26 February 2015

    Jamaican Activist Urges Donor Push on Transparency

    Foreign aid should be more directly tied to governments’ efforts to improve their transparency and donors should place more emphasis on greater grassroots involvement, according to Aylair Livingstone, a Jamaican transparency activist who presented an overview of access in the Caribbean at a World Bank webinar. Livingston summarized the freedom of information situation in the […]

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  • 25 March 2013

    Caribbean FOI Network Formed at Jamaica Meeting

    A Caribbean network on freedom of information was created at a conference held recently in Kingston, Jamaica. Governments, civil society, and media announced plans to launch the Caribbean network  “to support processes to improve standards for access to information in the region,” according to a statement. Representatives from 11 Caribbean countries attended a two-day “Regional Conference on Freedom of […]

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News Archive

  • 12 October 2012

    Trinidad and Tobago Minister Withholds Crime Statistics

    By Daniel Guerra This report was published by the Knight Center for Journlism in the Americas blog Oct. 10, 2012. It is also available in Spanish and Portuguese. A top government official in Trinidad and Tobago has ordered police to withhold crime statistics from the public and media, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday, Oct. 10. […]

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  • 5 March 2012

    Trinidad and Tobago Join OGP as 53rd Member

    Trinidad and Tobago is the 53rd country to join the Open Government Partnership. A Feb. 22 letter  from Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communication Surujrattan Rambachan indicating a desire to join was added to the OGP website March 3. With the latest addition, almost two-thirds of all 79 eligible countries have joined the multilateral effort […]

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  • 22 March 2006

    EBRD Seeks Comment on Draft of New Disclosure Policy

    At the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the board recently released a proposal to modify its disclosure policies, with comments due April 14. The EBRD included in its announcement a number of new provisions. First, two new categories of information would be disclosed: General Institutional Information and Accountability and Governance. Second, the EBRD […]

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links

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

Freedom of Information Act (1999)

 

The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act, No. 14 of 2003

 

GOVERNMENT

Ombudsman

 

Ministry of Public Administration and Information, FOI Unit

 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Click to view.

Text from the freedominfo.org Global Survey: Freedom of Information and Access to Government Records Around the World, by David Banisar (updated July 2006)

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The Freedom of Information Act was approved in 1999 and went into effect in February 2001. (1) Any person may request official documents in any form from public authorities, including public corporations and private bodies that are exercising state power. Response to information requests should be made within 30 days.

There are exemptions for Cabinet documents less than 10 years old, defense and security, international relations, internal working documents, law enforcement, privilege, personal privacy, trade secrets, confidence, and documents protected by another law. There is a public-interest test that allows documents to be released if there is "reasonable evidence" of a significant abuse or neglect of authority, injustice to an individual, danger to the health of an individual, or the unauthorized use of public funds.

The Act does not apply to the President and the judicial functions of the courts. The President may also issue a decree exempting agencies from coverage under the Act.

Those denied can appeal to the Ombudsman who may issue a recommendation which is not binding on the agency concerned. (2) The Ombudsman received four complaints in 2001 and ten complaints in 2002. Appeals can also be made to the High Court for judicial review.

The Act also requires public authorities to publish information relating to the structure and functions of the authority, rules, manuals and other documents on making decisions.

The Act was amended in 2003 to clarify that the minister in charge of the act would be appointed by the government rather than set in the Act after the original ministry was abolished and to clarify which ministry can certify national security documents. (3)

Implementation is overseen by the FOI Unit of the Ministry of Public Administration and Information. (4) Regulations setting fees and other issues have not been finalized.

Notes

1. Freedom of Information Act, 1999. Act 26 of 1999. http://www.foia.gov.tt

2. Homepage: http://www.ombudsman.gov.tt/

3. The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act, No. 14 of 2003. 7 April 2003. http://www.ttparliament.org/bills/house/2002/b2002h08.htm

4. Home page: http://www.foia.gov.tt

 

 

Measuring Openness

Global Right to Information Rating
A country-by-country rating of laws by the Centre for Democracy and Law and Access Info.

Freedom House
The Freedom in the World report.

World Bank
Worldwide Governance Indicators

Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index
Measures perceptions of the degree of corruption.

Reporters Without Borders
The Press Freedom Index.