Jamaica has Made Significant Progress in Enabling Access to Information

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Robert Morgan, says Jamaica has made significant progress in enabling public access to information and facilitating data protection and sharing.

He noted that the country is ahead of many others globally, in relation to legislative and policy frameworks and assured that the Government “remains committed to transparency and openness”.

“Our commitment is reflected in the promulgation of the Access to Information Act in 2004… to reinforce and give further effect to certain fundamental principles underlying the system of constitutional democracy that we have, namely, government accountability, transparency, and public participation in national decision-making,” Mr. Morgan said, while reaffirming the Administration’s commitment to reviewing the Act.

He was speaking during the digital launch of the Cohort Three Records and Information Management (RIM) Programme Implementation and Workshop on Monday (September 28).

The event also marked International Day for Universal Access to Information under the theme ‘Access to Information – Saving Lives. Building Trust, Bringing Hope’.

Morgan said the Government, through the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, has also drafted an Open Data Policy, “which will see the proactive sharing of government data with the public”.

“It is also important to [note that] the passage, earlier this year, of the Data Protection Act, further reinforces the importance of information sharing and also the control of how information is shared [while] seeking to protect the personal information of Jamaican citizens and others who may use [this] to access government and private-sector services,” he noted.

The State Minister further informed that modernisation of the Archives Act is being undertaken to align the legislation with new trends and developments in records and archives management.

Morgan said that the Government is far advanced in its efforts to achieve the objectives advocated through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) commemoration of International Day for Universal Access to Information.

He noted that the day “advocates for the adoption and implementation of sound constitutional and statutory policy guarantees, endorses principles of the right to information in times of crises, and highlights the impact of proactive sharing of information on health and education, as well as inclusive and gender-sensitive initiatives, focusing on vulnerable groups for prosperity and sustainability”.

The observance of the day was proclaimed during the 74th United Nations General Assembly in 2019.