The St. Kitts-Nevis parliament has given the green light to the Freedom of Information Bill which is intended to usher in a “new level of openness and transparency” while opposition legislators claim the move to debate the law is nothing more than “window dressing.”
The Freedom of Information Bill was first tabled in Parliament in 2015 and during the debate that began on Wednesday, Information Minister and Attorney General Vincent Byron Jr. said the legislation will usher in a new archetype of accountability, good governance, and transparency in the twin island federation.
“The bill before the National Assembly …is intended to usher in what is anticipated would be a new level of openness and transparency. In that vein, the enactment of Freedom of Information Law to provide for a regulatory framework for public access to certain information is important at this juncture.
“The enactment, the implementation, and application of the Freedom of Information legislation would mark a new era of openness and greater transparency in our country. It represents a paradigm shift in governance that would better ensure that citizens of St Kitts and Nevis can more effectively enjoy the right to access information,” he said.
Byron said the Freedom of Information legislation will help in the fight against corruption and engender public participation in the national decision-making process.
But Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil Douglas dismissed the government’s intention, as he questioned the administration’s seriousness in implementing the bill.