With only four months remaining till the 2018 calendar year ends, the National Democratic Party (NDP) government is still yet to put forward a Freedom of Information Act in the House of Assembly.
Governor Augustus Jaspert had said in his Speech from the Throne address back in March that government was going to introduce the critical piece of legislation this year.
The governor said he has noticed a trend where former governors made legislative promises, in their respective throne speeches, that local government never followed through on.
Freedom of Information is one such Bill that has often recurred but Governor Jaspert hopes this year is the final time talks to introduce the legislation will be mentioned in a Speech from the Throne.
“Speeches from the Throne often include sections that get repeated. I don’t think that’s a good thing. I think when [promises] are made they should be delivered on. So, the Freedom of Information Act is something that I support … I hope that when we get back from summer break it will be brought forward,” the governor said.
The governor was speaking Thursday at a media conference at Government House in Road Town.
Whenever the Bill is introduced and passed, it will include ‘guidelines on how persons can access public records without any exemptions’, Governor Jaspert had said back in March.
The bill is also expected to include recommendations for the establishment of a Freedom of Information Unit, which will provide the public with ‘the appropriate administrative mechanism to make and receive requests’.
Residents have been clamouring for the legislation for years and just recently, Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie said if this current administration fails to implement the legislation, he will have it done under a Virgin Islands Party (VIP) government.
The Opposition Leader will be hoping lead the VIP to the polls for the next general election, which is constitutionally due in 2019. Chairman-elect of the NDP, Myron Walwyn will be leading his party to the polls.
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