The long-awaited Freedom of Information and Consumer Protection bills are finally being introduced.
Governor Augustus Jaspert said the two bills will be presented during the third session of the third House of Assembly, which got underway yesterday (March 1).
A large cross-section of residents has been clamouring for the two bills for years.
Consumer Protection Bill
“There is an unwavering commitment by our government to introduce a consumer protection bill during this (House of Assembly) session to facilitate an attractive business climate with fair business practices,” the Governor said.
The Consumer Protection Bill will establish the rights of both the consumer and the business in an effort to create a ‘free-priced market economy’, he added.
Price gouging, particularly after the recent hurricanes, was a major issue in the territory.
It is anticipated that the bill will have that, and other unscrupulous business practices addressed.
Freedom of Information Bill
In the meantime, the other bill to be introduced in the House this year – Freedom of Information – will include ‘guidelines on how people can access public records without any exempted categories’.
Governor Jaspert said the bill includes recommendations for the establishment of a Freedom of Information Unit that will provide the public with ‘the appropriate administrative mechanism to make and receive requests’.
“This piece of legislation will allow for increased transparency and accountability of public affairs,” he noted.
Up to this point, the bill has been nothing but a yet-to-be-materialized promise by local government.
It is said that when passed, the true test of the bill will be how it is implemented in the territory.
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