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Ag: Freedom Of Information Act Will Take Time To Implement If Passed

Former Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.

Former Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said that while the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) will be debated in the Senate on Monday and passed by Thursday, she is unsure what will happen to the legislation should there be a change of government at the election.

In an interview with The Tribune on Friday, Mrs Maynard-Gibson said the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is determined to see the bill through to the end but admitted that "it will take time to implement" even after it is passed in the Senate.

The House of Assembly passed the revamped FOIA last week.

"The first reading in the Senate will be on Monday and is likely to finish on Thursday," Mrs Maynard Gibson said. "I cannot speak for what will happen in the unlikely event that another government is elected.

"I can say with complete confidence that the Progressive Liberal Party does not believe in alternative facts. You have already heard it said in the House of Assembly in consultation and I was a part of the early consultative exercise with Minister Fitzgerald and entire team since we took over. Everyone, civil society, the media and all stakeholders have been involved in this and so it is a very reasonable bill.

"The fact is, it will move ahead after it is passed in the Senate and it will take time to implement because it's heavily resource intensive. There's no question about this, none."

Mrs Maynard-Gibson also said she is unsure how long it will take for the bill to be enacted after it is passed in the Senate.

"What happens is that once a bill is passed by the Senate, there's a recommendation that a deed of assent can be signed and the relevant minister makes the recommendation to the Governor General to sign it. The bill is then gazetted and that is when it becomes enacted."

An FOIA was passed by the Ingraham administration shortly before the 2012 general election but did not have an enforcement date. When the PLP assumed office, the government said the legislation would need significant changes.

In December, 2016, Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald tabled another version of FOI legislation.

However, the bill that was passed earlier this month presented several “big changes” when compared to its predecessors, according to Mr Fitzgerald, the minister with responsibility for FOIA.

The Marathon MP asserted that this incarnation of FOI is vastly better than the “woefully short” aspirations of the legislation passed in 2012 - a piece of legislation he said the former administration “rushed” through Parliament to gain political points.

Comments

viewersmatters 3 years, 3 months ago

with a transparent, non-corrupted trustworthy Government a bill like this would actually assist law officers ( once their not under the influence of the Government and without any Government involvement) this bill would assist law officers significantly by take criminals including corrupted officials, Government, law officers, lawyers, Judges all who are playing a roll in crime. this bill would only be good for the people and the country if a federal agency or corruption department is create but not under the terms or organisations in place now.

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viewersmatters 3 years, 3 months ago

with a transparent, non-corrupted trustworthy Government a bill like this would actually assist law officers ( once their not under the influence of the Government and without any Government involvement) this bill would assist law officers significantly by take criminals including corrupted officials, Government, law officers, lawyers, Judges all who are playing a roll in crime. this bill would only be good for the people and the country if a federal agency or corruption department is create but not under the terms or organisations in place now.

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Required 3 years, 3 months ago

Of course it'll "take time to implement." The PLP will leave this for the next government, just like the FNM did in 2012, because no politician in the Bahamas wants this.

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ohdrap4 3 years, 3 months ago

also, the postponement of this bill is the price of shelving the spy bill for the time being.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 3 months ago

"ATTORNEY General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said that while the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) will be debated in the Senate on Monday and passed by Thursday,"

Unable to begin to 'can". What's the purpose of the debate?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 3 months ago

This proposed FOIA will never have any teeth for obvious reasons. Sadly the problem is much deeper than we would like to think simply because the correlation between the typical types of voters in our society today and the usual kind of politicians they prefer to elect is much too great. As the saying goes: "Birds of a feather flock together" or, in the more appropriate local vernacular, "scum loves only scum"! Therefore replacing an already well fed and fattened bunch of crooks with a very hungry and malnourished bunch of crooks would likely exacerbate our country's death by a thousand cuts. Like most Bahamians I want to be more optimistic, but unfortunately history shows the single most telling sign of a doomed country is the lack of available political alternatives which usually results in a dictatorship of some kind at the end of the day. Even LBT who already looks well fed is nevertheless hungry and anxious to have access to deals on the side with foreign investors and that shining pot of gold held by our country's government which is filled with our tax dollars a/k/a the Public Treasury! Keep in mind too that our PMs have typically also given away for pennies on the dollar large portions of our Crown Land to benefit themselves and their cronies. The dynamics at play are such that much sun light will never be allowed to shine on the dastardly deeds of the corrupt politicians that "we" voters elect to office.

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