Thu | Jan 21, 2021

‘Secret’…Gov’t wants disclosure of Cabinet documents barred for 70 years

Published:Tuesday | October 1, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Karl Samuda - File photo

Jamaicans seeking to access Cabinet documents under the Access to Information Act could have to wait an additional 50 years before they can view those files.

Minister without portfolio with responsibility for Education, Youth and Information Karl Samuda today in Parliament moved an affirmative resolution seeking to amend the act, which would move the exemption from 20 years to 70 years.

The order, dated September 5, was signed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who leads the Cabinet.

The Access to Information Act was passed in 2002 and came into operation in 2004.

It gives the public a general right of access to official government information which would otherwise be inaccessible.

The Act grants public access to a raft of government documents, including some from Cabinet, which were previously listed as classified.

However, some categories of documents are exempt from disclosure under the Act.

Documents excluded from the ATI Act include, but are not limited to:

* National economy which could harm the economy.

* Security, defence and international relations.

* Related to the Cabinet.

* Law enforcement.

* Legal privilege.

* Government's deliberative processes.

* Trade secrets.

* Personal privacy of individuals.

- Jerome Reynolds

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