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Bahamas Minister Promises to Bring Up FOI Bill

last modified Sep 17, 2011 12:00 AM

Source: Freedominfo.org

Date: 17 September 2011

Bahamian Health Minister Hubert Minnishas said the government will bring a freedom of information bill to Parliament before it ends its term in office, according to a Sept. 15  report by Cara Brennen-Bethel in The Tribune.

Minnis said in a radio interview that he is “a full complete proponent of the Freedom of Information Act.” He continued,” I think the public needs to know what is happening.”

“You need transparency and accountability. Only then can the country move forward,” according to Minnis, who stressed: “The government is not reluctant to bring this legislation to Parliament. I can say with confidence that it is coming.”

The Tribune reported:

When pressed by host Ortland Bodie on whether the government, considering everything it had on its plate, would be able to bring and pass the act before the next election, Dr Minnis said there was “adequate” time to bring forward the act.

The minister did however admit the government has not been successful in communicating its messages and goals to the public.

He acknowledged that people are frustrated by the inconvenience of the ongoing road works, the challenges of garbage collection and the stray dog population among other challenges which callers to the programme raised, and may feel the government is not interested in their concerns.

“I think that we are listening to the people, but I think our public relations is poor. I would be the first to admit that. Both in the FNM, the government, and the ministries. We may not have explained to them appropriately what is happening therefore it will be the perception that if I don’t know then you can’t be listening to me. Communication is poor and I find communication is poor not only in the FNM but in the government, in the ministry and it’s a problem that Bahamians spell with a small c and not a capital C, and we must improve on communication.