Wed | Jul 8, 2020

Don’t deny access to information

Published:Monday | October 7, 2019 | 12:08 AM


The fact that the Government wanted to extend the period of exemption of Cabinet documents from 20 years to 70 years diminishes its role of accountability since most persons alive now, both in and outside of government, would not be alive when these files become accessible.

The ruling Jamaica Labour Party, in its 2016 election manifesto, promised greater transparency while in government. There is no plausible reason as to how increasing the period of exemption of Cabinet documents from 20 to 70 years could in any way foster greater transparency.

Finally, it has become commonplace for successive governments to make certain key decisions that have far-reaching implications for the public at large without any consultation with key stakeholders. A primary example of this would be the most recent amendments to the Copyright Act, which was done without the inclusion of members of the library and information community.

This one is no different, since access to information is at the heart of what we do as information professionals. Through the various ministries, departments and agencies of government, members of the public are able to access government documents through our units. It would, therefore, have been a prudent decision to consult with the key persons responsible for providing this information to the public before making such a move.


President, Library and


Association of Jamaica