Senator Maxine McClean Says Town Hall Meetings Will Happen
Friends, IF the drafts really are ready and will be distributed soon, then we at Barbados Free Press will get together over dinner to talk about the next steps.
There will be no celebration.
It has taken two years and nine months of hard work to get to this place – where a government MAY actually publish draft FOI and Integrity Legislation for public consideration. (See Nation News: Ready for Public)
Whether that draft legislation is designed to be an effective, respected and feared guard dog for the public interest – or merely a lapdog without teeth – has yet to be seen.
Now The Real Work Begins
So far, the process of developing the draft legislation has taken place in secret. IF the government posts the drafts on the internet as they promised and includes a copy in each newspaper – that MAY be an indication that Prime Minister Thompson desires real and significant public discussion and input.
IF, however, the draft legislation ends up being distributed in the typical “one copy at the library” (what library? ha!) fashion, that will be a definite indication of the government’s intent.
We citizens must ensure that Barbados ends up with the best possible Integrity and Freedom of Information Legislation and THEN we must ensure that it makes it through the many barriers that stand between a draft and actual proclaimed law.
Make no mistake, my friends: the battle has not yet started. Many will pretend to support the legislation while working against it behind the scenes. Many will try to rip the guts out of it so if it does become law it will be flawed and porous.
This is the time for vigilance, not celebration.