BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, April 4, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The passing of the landmark Freedom of Information Bill in the National Assembly on Thursday, May 3, 2018, was another clear indication of the Team Unity Government’s willingness, commitment and seriousness to fulfill its good governance agenda as outlined in its manifesto.
After going through its second reading and garnering overwhelming support in the Federal Parliament, the Freedom of Information Bill, which seeks to promote maximum disclosure of information in the public interest, to guarantee the right of everyone to access to information, to provide for effective mechanisms to secure that right and for related matters, was subsequently passed into law late Thursday evening.
In his contribution to the debate, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said this piece of legislation represents real change in the political paradigm in St. Kitts and Nevis, by placing greater emphasis on transparency and openness in the government.
Referencing the Team Unity manifesto in the lead up to the 2015 General Election, Prime Minister Harris said they promised to bring a Freedom of Information Act allowing all citizens and residents the right and ability to access information with regards to the affairs of their government.
“So we promised for the 2015 election campaign, today three years later we are making good on that promise,” Prime Minister Harris said, noting that the Team Unity Administration is deserving of commendation for its “superb performance.”
Dr. Harris also pointed to the hypocrisy of the Dr. Denzil Douglas-led Opposition for criticizing his administration’s attempt to improve the transparency of the operations of the government through the Freedom of Information Act.
“How dare the Opposition, who spent 20 years in government, come into the Honourable House to chastise a young government of just over three years for performing and outperforming it [and] for doing what it could not do, or chose not to do in 20 long years,” Prime Minister Harris stated.
Mover of the Bill, Attorney General, the Honourable Vincent Byron, stated earlier that once implemented, parliamentarians may have to return to the National Assembly from time to time to make appropriate adjustments to this piece of legislation.