Let’s Discuss Barbados Draft Freedom Of Information Law

This article will stay pinned at the top of the blog for the next few weeks to facilitate discussion about the recently released draft Freedom of Information Act.

Scroll down past this article for new articles of all types.

Please join in the discussion. Our children are depending upon us.

Here is where to obtain a copy of the draft FOI, and the schedule for public hearings and submissions…

Contact & Public Meeting Information (From the Barbados Government)

The Bill can be accessed online at http://www.gov.bb. (Download PDF here)

Persons providing electronic feedback should do so at freedomofinfobill@barbados.gov.bb. Copies of the Bill are also being placed at Post Offices islandwide.

Responses to the Bill, whether electronic or hard copy, should be forwarded no later than Friday, 31st October 2008 to:

(i) freedomofinfobill@barbados.gov.bb

or

(ii) Permanent Secretary (Special Assignments)
Prime Minister’s Office Government Headquarters Bay Street St. Michael

or

(iii) Fax Number: 228-8234

The following Town Hall Meetings are also being held in order to provide additional opportunities for persons to provide feedback and inputs.

Wednesday, 15th October 2008 The Combermere School, Waterford, St. Michael

Wednesday, 22nd October 2008 The Alexandra School, Queen Street, St. Peter

Wednesday, 29th October 2008 The Deighton Griffith School, Kingsland, Christ Church

Wednesday, 5th November 2008 The Princess Margaret School, Six Roads, St. Philip

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88 Comments

Filed under Barbados

88 responses to “Let’s Discuss Barbados Draft Freedom Of Information Law

  1. BFP

    The following comments were transferred from the first article where comments are now closed…

    reality check
    October 10, 2008 at 7:27 am

    Oh dear!!!

    This whole exercise in fundamental democracy looks so insincere and amateurish.

    real versus fake
    October 10, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Don’t we have at UWI Law School with final year students who could participate in this process, hold meetings and make recommendations for the government or do the politicians and bureaucrats want keep a grass roots democracy away from all but the chosen few?

    fool me once
    October 10, 2008 at 11:06 am

    post it online- no word in the newspapers- town hall meeting in five days- democracy not happening here this important document for many years to come and deserves some respect from DLP which it not showing-ram the law through fast is not the right thing to do

    permres
    October 10, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I have just had a quick look at Wiki’s copyright and they use something called GNU. Too complicated for me, a mere teacher, so all I know is that if any of my students, even primary children, did this, even just a recognisable single phrase, without acknowledging their source, they would have to do something about it. Re-write it, put the references in, whatever.

    189
    October 10, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Responses to the Bill, whether electronic or hard copy, should be forwarded no later than Friday, 31st October 2008 to:

    (i) freedomofinfobill@barbados.gov.bb

    or

    (ii) Permanent Secretary (Special Assignments)
    Prime Minister’s Office Government Headquarters Bay Street St. Michael

    or

    (iii) Fax Number: 228-8234

    The following Town Hall Meetings are also being held in order to provide additional opportunities for persons to provide feedback and inputs.

    Wednesday, 15th October 2008 The Combermere School, Waterford, St. Michael

    Wednesday, 22nd October 2008 The Alexandra School, Queen Street, St. Peter

    Wednesday, 29th October 2008 The Deighton Griffith School, Kingsland, Christ Church

    Wednesday, 5th November 2008 The Princess Margaret School, Six Roads, St. Philip

    As we an see from the above there will be adequate opportunity to air your opinions at the meetings to come or by email or fax, so here is your chance to have an input into a newly drafted bill.

    The only comments that will count are the ones that are made thru the official channels, as opposed to making them on a site such as this come forward and make a real contribution by attending the Town hall meetings and openly discuss the direction you want to see the draft take, the ball is in your court.

    Red Lake Lassie
    October 10, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    189’s bias is showing as he / she makes excuses for a flawed process that is designed to be as little trouble for the “writers” (sorry, “cut and pasters”) of this Freedom of Information bill.

    He/she makes a point that we should participate nonetheless and he/she is correct.

    BFP printed all the information in the article as to where etc.

    189 is wrong about discussing the legislation on the blogs though. We must discuss the legislation everywhere so we can learn and formulate our opinions in an informed manner.

    189 wants a “pretend” consultation where the public sits in the chairs and listens to the “experts”. 189, put away your DLP membership card for this discussion. It is for the good of the country.


    Chris Halsall
    October 10, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    @permres and BFP…

    With respect, I think you are raising a false and distracting concern here…

    Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU (Gnu’s Not Unix — a recursive definition; a bit of a geek joke)
    Free Documentation License. A sister of the GNU Public License (GPL).

    It is a “copyleft” license; Free / Open Source; Creative Commons. It is *intended* to allow and encourage copying!!!

    The only issue is that the document doesn’t make reference to the license. But since Law is considered to be Public Domain anyway, this is not really a serious issue.

    A more serious question: how many of you have actually *read* the proposed Act in its entirety?

    ********************

    BFP says,

    Chris, it is not about “plagiarism” and we say that in our article that we expect things to be copied and pasted from the legislation that is out there in the various jurisdictions.

    The concerns are that this is a last-minute shove-through process that could have and should have been announced months ago. It, like the copy and paste, shows an attitude and an intent by the government to ram something through without seriously educating the public.

    By pointing out the cut and paste, we highlight that this has all been done before in other jurisdictions AND that we must as citizens be wary of the politicians ramming this through with flaws in the legislation that they place there to suit their agendas.

    We don’t trust the politicians, and we have a right and good reason to not trust them.

    So let’s everybody dig into this proposed legislation and find the flaws.


    Ian Bourne
    October 10, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    There is a part that needs questioning where essentially a minister may deem ANY document exempt from public scrutiny and keep it that way for as long “they” deem fit, AKA: until further notice/ February 30th/ November 32nd

    That is only one perforation in this sieve, mind you!

    BFP
    October 10, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    BFP says,

    Chris, it is not about “plagiarism” and we say that in our article that we expect things to be copied and pasted from the legislation that is out there in the various jurisdictions.

    The concerns are that this is a last-minute shove-through process that could have and should have been announced months ago. It, like the copy and paste, shows an attitude and an intent by the government to ram something through without seriously educating the public.

    By pointing out the cut and paste, we highlight that this has all been done before in other jurisdictions AND that we must as citizens be wary of the politicians ramming this through with flaws in the legislation that they place there to suit their agendas.

    We don’t trust the politicians, and we have a right and good reason to not trust them.

    So let’s everybody dig into this proposed legislation and find the flaws.

    BFP
    October 10, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Good find Ian!

    Is this provision in the legislation of other countries? Is it there but perhaps there is an appeal process… or is a minister allowed to hide anything they want to for as long as they want to? And does that ability exist after the minister is voted from office or the government falls?

    We must dig deeper.

    .147
    October 10, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    You would think that they would compose a few paragraphs themselves to introduce their legislation, but they cut and paste from Wikipedia!

    How much did we pay for this document?

    There’s a question: how much did the cut and pasting cost us?

    Hants
    October 10, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    BFP I expect that you will be attending all the Town Hall meetings.

    I expect that BFP and all of you that are complaining and criticising will post your “revisions” additions,recomendations on this blog.

    @ Ian Bourne,

    “may deem ANY document exempt from public scrutiny and keep.”

    Good point.

    This may be necessary in case it is a document that involves serious threat to the security of the country or other countries.
    The legal gurus on here should comment.

    Ian Bourne keep questioning. This is a democracy.

    The rest of you step up or shut up.

    BFP you should leave this topic at the top of the page

    Hants
    October 10, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    BFP you should produce a FIA print Edition with the recommendations of your bloggers.

    Chris Halsall
    October 10, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    @BFP et al…

    While I encourage paranoia, it can also be taken too far…

    Yes, this has been cut-and-pasted. But you know what? IMHO, good!!!

    Law is simply software. And it is well known in the software industry that it better to reuse and extend existing code than developing from scratch.

    I personally have read the entire document, and as I said over on BU, the code looks reasonable. A few bits need to be debugged, but overall this is workable.

    Bourne raises the issue of a Minister being able to define a document as exempt, but there is recourse through the Ombudsman. Further, take a look at Part III “Information Commissioner and Employees, Etc.” Herein it is very clear that the Commissioner is to be independent.

    Again, I agree this language has been copied from elsewhere. But, again, this is (IMHO) a good thing — as in, there’s not been time to introduce traps and loopholes (at least, not that I’ve seen myself; yet).

    (As an aside, it would be worthwhile finding out what is the base document, so we can compare and determine exactly what has been changed. This would point out potential “gotchas”.)

    It is *our* responsibility to apply extensive due diligence here. But let’s not let the ill-defined “boogy men” make us irrationally untrusting…

    The real test (using the legal meaning of “test”) will be when this Act is enacted, and the requests start being made. And then some will be denied. And then the reviews (and possibly, suits) begin…

    May we live in interesting times…


    .147
    October 10, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Chris Halsall, without BFP there would be no draft legislation being proffered by this government. Without BFP it is possible that Owen Arthur might still be the PM.

    BFP warns that this is being shoved through without giving the public copies of the bill to study. I think that is important.

    BFP warns that the media has so far ignored this draft and that the government didn’t put out a press release when they posted the draft on line. I think that is important.

    We are discussing the draft online but no one in the media is discussing it. I think that is important.

    BFP provides wise counsel when it says we must be suspicious and watch for government agendas.

    Beefcake
    October 10, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Has anyone noticed that the maximum fine is only $20,000???!!!

    So you can steal millions of dollars in cash and supplies, or be involved in unethical activity, or receive irregular gifts and perquisites, and only at a cost of $20,000 or less.

    Speak about no deterrent to committing acts of abuse.

    It will be a deterrent to those small-sum clerks who get caught and dragged through the system.

    Jason
    October 10, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    .147 has a good point. The words “integrity legislation”, “freedom of information”, “transparency” and “conflicts of interest” were not part of the public discussion until BFP started pushing. Those words were never heard before the blogs.

    147 makes another good point. I agree that you’d think the people who put this together would think more of their work than using an introduction cut and pasted from Wikipedia!

    Chris Halsall
    October 10, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    @.147…

    I agree with you completely that BFP, BU, and the other Bajan Blogs are changing the landscape of governance in Barbados in, generally, a positive manner.

    And I also agree that it is *very* interesting that there was absolutely no mention of this in the “dead-tree media”.

    Open dialogue is critical.

    However, that doesn’t mean I’m always going to agree with every position BFP, or anyone else, takes.

    All I am saying is, *we* have an opportunity here. Let’s get to it!!!


    Anonymous
    October 10, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Quoting Chris Halsall
    “Bourne raises the issue of a Minister being able to define a document as exempt, but there is recourse through the Ombudsman”

    Let’s hope Government appoints an Ombudsman soon as the Government’s website says that the post is “vacant”. I belive that has been the case for quite a while. Anyone remember how long?


    Waterboy
    October 10, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Quoting Chris Halsall
    “Bourne raises the issue of a Minister being able to define a document as exempt, but there is recourse through the Ombudsman”

    Let’s hope Government appoints an Ombudsman soon as the Government’s website says that the post is “vacant”. I belive that has been the case for quite a while. Anyone remember how long?

    Chris Halsall
    October 10, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    @Beefcake: “So you can steal millions of dollars in cash and supplies, or be involved in unethical activity, or receive irregular gifts and perquisites, and only at a cost of $20,000 or less.”

    With respect, you are confusing the issue here…

    The $20,000 fine is for failing “to comply with provisions of sections 15, 16 and 17″ of the proposed Act.

    Corruption, and the penalties for same, is not this Act’s purview…

    *PLEASE*, read and understand the language!!!

    Chris Halsall
    October 10, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Waterboy: “Let’s hope Government appoints an Ombudsman soon as the Government’s website says that the post is “vacant”. I belive that has been the case for quite a while. Anyone remember how long?”

    There are *many* positions which are going to have to be filled for this proposed FOI Act to function.

    One would hope that the Ombudsman would be one of them. And if not, then I’d be the first to support BFP’s call to explain why it hasn’t been done…

    no name
    October 10, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    It is imperative that the journalists be involved in this exercise to make the Act the best that it can be.

    reality check
    October 10, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    “Let’s hope Government appoints an Ombudsman soon as the Government’s website says that the post is “vacant”. I belive that has been the case for quite a while. Anyone remember how long?”

    This is a very small country which specializes in secrecy, tribal politics and special interests. Our ombudsman has been traditionally toothless and neutered. Like the three monkeys that see, hear and speak no evil, it is a fundamental flaw to have government appoint the ombudsman.

    If the government is serious, about FOI, ITAL and peoples rights etc., the ombusman should be appointed by an independent world agency with the right and obligation to post his or her findings on all forms of media on a regular basis. To do anything less would be a complete sham and an exercise in the world of pretend.

  2. Pingback: Barbados Government Releases Freedom Of Information Draft - PLAGIARISED FROM WIKIPEDIA! « Barbados Free Press

  3. Green Monkey

    For your viewing pleasure, here is Politics in Mouseland, a cartoon lesson in politics and voting courtesy of the late, great T0mmy Douglas, the Canadian politician who introduced the concept of government sponsored health insurance to Canada.

  4. @BFP et al…

    OK, here’s my first question (and it might be a stupid one, because it’s possible that “everyone knows”)…

    At what *time* do the Town Hall Meetings take place?

    For the record, I have e-mailed the freedomofinfobill@ address requesting this information — will be interesting to see when (if?) I get a response…

  5. Tell me Why

    Be there at 6 a.m. so you wouldn’t miss the start (laugh) Remember, all this haste is just for the Independence day parade and fanfare at Kensington Oval where the documents will be shared out. I am just guessing, but I might be true.

  6. Hants

    Nuff respect to BFP and the Bajan blogs.

    And to think the BLP wanted to ban de Bajan blogs.

    Hopefully ITAL will follow immediately after FIA.

    Most important topic to discuss is how will we survive the world wide economic recession.

  7. Also – you realise no TIME is listed for same TH gatherings

  8. 188

    I compliment BFP on opening this for comment, this is very progressive thinking.
    Well done.

  9. BAFBFP

    This is a straight show down between BU and BFP for responses. Caw Bli’ Ya, look who’ gone clear. BFP get dusted… booo

    You and your censorship and everything else about you…….. booooooo

    ***************************

    BFP says,

    How wrong you are about there being some sort of contest between BU and BFP for comments or anything else. This is all about the future of Barbados. Some folks will discuss it here, some at BU, some at the dinner table and some at the rumshop. The more discussion there is everywhere, the better chance the people have of diverting the narrow interests that are trying to shape the debate and the legislation.

    As to censorship here, yes we banned you and a handful of others because you wouldn’t stop posting about that which has just caused Mia Mottley to win a bundle of cash over across the pond and a few other unusual themes.

    So if you have found a place at BU that lets you post that, and let’s you post your other causes (like your warped concept that hundreds of Americans in government and the military planned and participated in 9/11) – well, good for you.

    But this is our blog – with almost 3 million visitors per year – and we don’t allow anyone to take over just because they are bombastic and post a lot of comments.

    Good day, to you sir.

  10. Adrian Hinds

    I would love to contribute to this topic, but i am not incline too since I am allowed one post per day after which I am subject moderation.

    ****************

    BFP says,

    You are not moderated Adrian… other than via the WordPress spam filters the same as everyone else. The fact that this post made it through tells you that neither your name nor your IP are on our banned list.

    I’m looking at the list right now and I can assure you that you are not on “the list”.

  11. akabozik

    I see that Wi In Vain is banned from talking about Mia at Barbados Underground too. It looks to me like BFP did the reasonable thing with that fellow.

  12. jason

    At BU most (95%) of the comments are from four people. They don’t discuss things at BFP anymore since the DLP won. They are big supporters of the DLP and since BFP criticizes the DLP they gone to BU where David does not publish anti-DLP articles. He publish no anti-government articles since Thompson win! LOL

  13. Adrian Hinds

    BFP, i have been consistently moderated on my second post for sometime now. I post at BU because i expect to see what i type after i submit, and i do. The only time that i am moderated there is when i place url link in the post.

    *************
    BFP says,

    Hmmmmm….

    This is your second post and the spam filter didn’t moderate you. It went right through. Perhaps you tend to use one or two of the “banned” words in your vocabulary consistently when you write longer comments?

    Adrian… try and post a few longer comments today and I’ll watch for them to try and determine if you consistently use a banned word. If I can figure it out, I’ll remove those words from the list.

    The list has developed into a pretty comprehensive list because of the people who threatened Adrian Loveridge and us, but maybe the filter is starting to pick up other folks too like yourself.

    Please post a bit today and I’ll see if I can figure it out.

    Cliverton

  14. How can a truly comprehensive FOI-Legislature happen sans replacement for Ombudsman (I take it there’s none right now from what I understand?) and also why make a horrid deadline of Oct 31?

    Is it not better to make it in December or January to allow more comprehensive digestion and amendments?

  15. PS @ BFP – I have the Town Hall dates as my Top Entry and will let it stay so until Monday, I also added BGIS’ main phone number and some of their other e-mail addresses so as to increase public desire for clarity

  16. CLARIFICATION – JUST IN: Both Advocate & Nation Print/Dead-tree today’s editions have time listed as 7:00 pm for all venues

  17. Adrian Hinds

    Ian Bourne
    October 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm
    How can a truly comprehensive FOI-Legislature happen sans replacement for Ombudsman (I take it there’s none right now from what I understand?) and also why make a horrid deadline of Oct 31?

    Is it not better to make it in December or January to allow more comprehensive digestion and amendments?
    ===================================

    Valid questions all and i join you in seeking answers to them. The reply deadline gave a bit of a pause, and to which i wondered if the whole thing was a joke. 🙂

    **********************

    BFP says to Adrian,

    Hi Adrian,

    We see that the spam basket grabbed this one on you, so I’ve made some major adjustments and we’ll see how it works out for the next week.

    So… please try posting a few times every day for the next week and we’ll fine tune it.

    Thanks!

    Clive

  18. BFP

    BFP says to Adrian Hinds,

    Hi Adrian,

    We see that the spam basket grabbed this one on you, so I’ve made some major adjustments and we’ll see how it works out for the next week.

    So… please try posting a few times every day for the next week and we’ll fine tune it.

    Thanks!

    Clive

  19. Pingback: Government Distributes Freedom of Information Bill For Feedback As Promised « Barbados Underground

  20. Barbados the Beautiful

    Are I the only one to notice that there is a piece missing? Looks like section 2 of # 17 is all gone there. Otherwise that doesn’t mean anything to me.

    I begin to wonder about our seat holders both sides of the house. Last year they missed noticing that the drunk driving laws were missing the laws against drunk driving and now big excitement they publish a law that missing a whole page. 30 men and women leading barbados can’t read so what about that? How we having public meetings when nobody made sure all there?

  21. Hants

    @ Barbados the Beautiful you say

    “big excitement they publish a law.”

    It is not a law.

    It is a draft document for people to read, discuss and make recommendations.

    Go to a Town Hall meeting and point out the “error”.

  22. Shades of “Poltergeist”, as in – They’re baaack

  23. Reiterating my two cents, as basic as possible –

    Oct 31 is a ridiculous deadline for written submissions and conflicts with last Town Hall of Nov 5 – a full calendar month or two for proper assimilation is way better;

    This document allows for a Minister to exempt files from Public Scrutiny, you can object to an Ombudsman that’s not there (Carl Ince retired ever since and that Clarke guy was acting and also pensioned, to be replaced by nobody new);

    The same document refers to Govt and Minister/tr(ies) …. What about the Private Sector? Are they too not bound by this Freedom of Info Act?

    I go back to analysing this jokebird of a paper 😉

  24. Adrian Hinds

    Bourne i agree with you. I had no idea that there is no current Ombudsman. Also since it was drawn to my attention that the Data protection act 2005 Bill was not pass into law, i have a huge problem with the passing of a FOIA without some form of a privatcy act. The right to know with regards to goverment should not include the right to know my personal information that is in the hands of the government. The right to know should not trample on the right to personal privacy. I think they need to revive the Data protection bill, a FOIA should not be pass without it.

  25. BAFBFP

    BAFBFP to BFP
    BAFBFP to BFP
    Are you reading me?…

    If you are well you have clearly lost your way, assuming of course that you were on one in the first place. You Banned me and people like BIMBRO for expressing opinions that differ to yours, on your so called ‘Free Press’ and yah toss in a choice insult to boot.

    What f**k**g hypocrites you are. It amazes me that all the other bloggers do not quickly up on your arrogance.

    Dey probably are suffering from a misguided sense of loyalty

  26. Waterboy

    @Barbados the Beautiful
    October 12, 2008 at 1:57 am
    I begin to wonder about our seat holders both sides of the house. Last year they missed noticing that the drunk driving laws were missing the laws against drunk driving and now big excitement they publish a law that missing a whole page. 30 men and women leading barbados can’t read so what about that? How we having public meetings when nobody made sure all there?
    ————————————————————–

    You actually think that they read the legislation they pass?

  27. BAFBFP

    If you were banned again then how come you can lay comments once more? You really are stupid, because you drop a comment somewhere does not mean AUTOMATIC publication! Get ur own blog – even BFP has restricted my remarks… Then if I feel strongly enough, I go to my own and set them forth!

    The only thing you have that seems vaguely of worth is your view on 9/11, watch “Swordfish” with John Travolta, Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman – very intriguing

  28. oldrooster

    Whole sections missing from this cut and pasted proposal. BFP please do a article about this.

  29. independent judiciary

    Power corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Knowing this, no one person or group should be exempt from having vigorous oversight for their actions including ministers, civil servants, Prime Ministers, Police Officers and staff, Judges, and other lawyers.

    If there was ever a case that the independence of our judiciary and how they are appointed is fundamental to this whole process of ITAL and FOI, it is now.

    The checks and balances of the different branches of government do not exist in Barbados to allow for basic justice to be applied.

    How can a Nation have proper oversight and judicial review if the Fox has been put in charge of the hen house?

    The Barbados government needs to declare the independence of the judiciary as there highest priority, mean it and clean house.

    To not do so is like a constant replay of “The Emperors New Clothes”.

  30. Barbados the Beautiful

    Just reading the comments and come across this from BAFBFP:

    “What f**k**g hypocrites you are. It amazes me that all the other bloggers do not quickly up on your arrogance.”

    Good for you BFP allowing comments from all people even those who are having trouble expressing themselves like our friend BAFBFP. The a*ter*sk* gutter talk does not help much either. So he does not agree with you and good for him now if only he could take the time to politely tell us why we would all be the better for it.

    Seems we have two types of argue in BIM. I will give my side and sit back to see if someone convince me otherwise or I will curse and call you a**hole. When more people do the first way than the second we will see things improve.

    Keep up it BFP.

  31. Hants

    @ independent judiciary

    “If there was ever a case that the independence of our judiciary and how they are appointed is fundamental to this whole process of ITAL and FOI, it is now.”

    Small Island nations with a small dense population is a problem where this matter is concerned.
    Everybody know somebody or their friend.

    We have been brought up with political affiliations from birth.

    It is very difficult to find persons who apolitical.

    Let us hope there are still a few honest Lawyers who can become honest upright judges

  32. Hants

    Just my opinion

    MIA has a rival.

    The BLP now has a new female potential leader and Barbados has a potential future female Prime Minister.

    “Portraying the 32-year-old Bradshaw – who was nominated unopposed at a packed Parkinson Memorial School – as an example for the new generation of BLP leadership, Mottley said the BLP would showcase “about 14 or 15 new candidates going into the next election”. ”

    This is going to be interesting.

  33. Hants

    Say What?

    The new about to be Leader of the BLP says

    “If the job is beyond him, call another election so the electorate can choose someone who can get the job done! We saved you before and we can save you again but we have to send a strong message that enough is enough.”

    Uh wunda ef she axks MIA if she cuh say dat?

  34. Adrian Hinds

    Hants
    October 13, 2008 at 4:33 pm
    Say What?

    The new about to be Leader of the BLP says

    “If the job is beyond him, call another election so the electorate can choose someone who can get the job done! We saved you before and we can save you again but we have to send a strong message that enough is enough.”

    Uh wunda ef she axks MIA if she cuh say dat?
    ==================================

    Hant: Hammie lah confirmed what I know to be the strategy of this BLP, and that Mia and this “smart and educated” new cadidate is saying. The BLP from as early as Jan 16th have embarked on the singular strategy of recapturing the reigns of power in the next election. The sooner the better, and if they can effect an early election so be it. The people of Barbados will have a simple choice, elect grass roots individuals who have in the past or can demonstrate in future that their local needs will not be place on the back burner or elect the so called “educated ” who will not piss on them. They are likely to be like Kerrie Simmonds and should be treated accordingly. 🙂

    I got a message from Maggie Thather for whom it may concern.

    Quote:
    “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” — Margaret Thatcher

  35. Adrian Hinds

    Hant don’t be so quick, a lot of these educated bajans are empty suites. People in Hammie lah consituency have a certain view about repesentation, she will have to prove her worth. Her name not withstanding.

  36. Hants

    @ Adrian Hinds

    Her best assets are that she is a female, great looking, intelligent and would be acceptable to all Bajans as a Prime Minister.

    I don’t want to get sue so I will stop at this point.

  37. Adrian Hinds

    Hants
    October 13, 2008 at 7:59 pm
    @ Adrian Hinds

    Her best assets are that she is a female, great looking, intelligent and would be acceptable to all Bajans as a Prime Minister.

    I don’t want to get sue so I will stop at this point.
    ==================================

    I am yet to be convince that these kind of superficial assets can sway people up in de Ivy and surrounding areas. Her last name is a non-starter to start with. 😀

    ….again I need to remind persons that Barbadians do not elect or choose the PM.

  38. St George's Dragon

    A couple of thoughts after a quick scan of the Bill:

    1. Recently when the head of the Police Complaints body failed to do the job there seemed to be a problem easing him out of the post. I am not sure that Clause 8 (4) allows the Information Commissioner to be removed if he / she is plain inactive.

    2. Maybe I have missed it but does the exemption relating to personal information apply in the case Ministers etc? Clearly it is right that members of the public should not have their personal details released through FoI, but this provision should not neuter the ability of the public to gain information about the any personal gain etc. made by Ministers or public servants as a result their position.

    Back to the reading!

  39. Adrian Hinds

    1: I think 8(4) is fair in light of what is percieve to exist in Barbados, re. yardfowlism, and the willingness of some politico’s exact revenge, vengence etc if their actions are challenged, not followed etc. Let the process to remove a employee be as fair and as transperent as possible, and i think the having a dismissal of this nature be done via parliamentary resolution, allows for such.

    2: Yes it should be 100% exempted under a FOIA act. Access to Personal information that is the hands of government should be control by a functioning Data protection act, and i would add that access to Ministers personal information should be control by some form of Integrity legislation.

    The right to know FOIA would be better tolerated if there is a corresponding Data protection act which spells out in better detail what personal information is accessible or not, and who can request such etc.

  40. J. Payne

    One thing thus far that I wish were changed.

    On page 11 it reads.

    The Commissioner may be removed from office by the Governor-General for inability to exercise the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) or for misbehaviour, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and with the approval of both Houses of Parliament signified by resolution.


    On the recommendation of the P.M.? Hmmm. I think it gives too much power to the office of the P.M. Clearly it doesn’t seem like the Freedom of Information Office is supposed to be outside of PMs influence. What comes to my mind is if the commissioner is pressing the Cabinet to disclose info the PM could just say. “Hey you know what? Either drop-it right now- or start packing yuh bags.” Perhaps Parliament should have the power to remove, or- the Judiciary instead.

  41. BFP? Need that ISP and probable locale – have to continue log for when Spammer finally gets theirs

    *******************

  42. Messages saved as a number of Print-Screens now in BMP format

    *****************

    BFP say

    Hey Ian,

    Give us a couple of days until Clive gets back. He can cull all the comments and IP info that ever happen against you and he will send them to you. OK? You will see that when he first started this with you and others he (they) didn’t use proxies because they never thought we’d find them.

  43. Adrian Hinds

    J. Payne
    October 14, 2008 at 4:02 am
    One thing thus far that I wish were changed.

    On page 11 it reads.

    The Commissioner may be removed from office by the Governor-General for inability to exercise the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) or for misbehaviour, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and with the approval of both Houses of Parliament signified by resolution.


    On the recommendation of the P.M.? Hmmm. I think it gives too much power to the office of the P.M. Clearly it doesn’t seem like the Freedom of Information Office is supposed to be outside of PMs influence. What comes to my mind is if the commissioner is pressing the Cabinet to disclose info the PM could just say. “Hey you know what? Either drop-it right now- or start packing yuh bags.” Perhaps Parliament should have the power to remove, or- the Judiciary instead.
    ===================================

    Now lets be fair:
    Why is it that no one seems to have a problem with the way the Information Commisionner is HIRED, but some would want to find issue with the way he/she can be FIRED? Is it because there is a difference between the hiring and dismissal process? CAN ANYONE FIND A DIFFERENCE??????

    WHAT THE HIRE AND FIRE PROCESS SAYS

    HIRING:
    8. (1) The Governor-General, acting on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and with the approval of both Houses of Parliament signified by resolution, shall appoint an Information Commissioner for the purposes of this Act, on such terms and conditions as may be specified in the instrument of his appointment.

    FIRING:
    8. (4) The Commissioner may be removed from office by the Governor-General for inability to exercise the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) or for misbehaviour, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and with the approval of both Houses of Parliament signified by resolution.

  44. Tell me Why

    I am yet to be convince that these kind of superficial assets can sway people up in de Ivy and surrounding areas. Her last name is a non-starter to start with.
    …………………………………………………………………………………
    The Ivy is not in her constituency. I don’t think the indifference of her father would be an obstacle. She is young, articulate, intelligent and will be able to relate better with the youth.

  45. J. Payne

    Adrian Hinds>
    Now lets be fair:
    Why is it that no one seems to have a problem with the way the Information Commisionner is HIRED, but some would want to find issue with the way he/she can be FIRED? Is it because there is a difference between the hiring and dismissal process? CAN ANYONE FIND A DIFFERENCE??????

    WHAT THE HIRE AND FIRE PROCESS SAYS

    HIRING:
    8. (1) The Governor-General, acting on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and with the approval of both Houses of Parliament signified by resolution, shall appoint an Information Commissioner for the purposes of this Act, on such terms and conditions as may be specified in the instrument of his appointment.

    FIRING:
    8. (4) The Commissioner may be removed from office by the Governor-General for inability to exercise the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) or for misbehaviour, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and with the approval of both Houses of Parliament signified by resolution.

    —-

    You have a good argument there. I feel this would then beg the question what should the hiring process be replaced with? In a extreme case I guess it could be an elected post decided at the ballot box during general elections.

    What made me think about the firing process was for example when David Comissiong became very critical of the Owen Arthur administration. Owen then quietly let him go from the Pan African Affairs office when his contract was up. It however seemed very clear that he was being let go as payback unless there was more then what meets the eye.

  46. I’m off, wish me luck!

  47. KB

    I just got my copy of the draft and will read cover to cover. The bill is one thing implementation is another. Note that the building code was in draft since 1993! I am sure the act does not address issues of cost of storage, retrieval, copywright of information – this will be a huge extra cost on tax payers.
    Here is a scenario, take a look at the Auditor General’s yearly plea about inability to obtain information from various gov’t departments. What good is freedom of information if we can’t access that information in a quick and efficient manner – it may just be another paper trail to no way.

  48. @I.Bourne…

    I was not able to make tonight’s meeting.

    Would be *very* interested in a report on same!

  49. 188

    I attended and only a hand full of people attended the meeting this evening, it may have had more to do with the weather conditions than the purpose of the meeting.

  50. Not only that, many wanted to watch the final Obama/McCain showdown, I actually heard an audience member on a cell-phone saying he must leave to get home by nine and I chastised him, said FOI more important! Sad to say, meeting done at 8:17.. Anyhow, report is now officially up!

  51. @I.Bourne…

    Thank you greatly for your report of the meeting on your Blog.

    And, again, I am sorry I was not able to attend last evening as I had planned. Without going into details, I had a last minute choice between attending one of the four scheduled meetings, or keeping 40 Bajans employed…

    You mentioned on your Blog that the meeting was “recorded”. Was this “minutes”, audio, or video?

    Regardless of the format, might this be generally available?

  52. It was audio format – two old ladies w/headphones at bottom of article, don’t know if the recording would be Public, worth asking at other venues…

  53. @I.Bourne: “worth asking at other venues…”

    Please, let’s always assume that I am dumber than bricks… (Because I am.)

    What would these “other venues” be?

    And, as a tangent, why was this meeting not covered with video cameras and audio recorders? Hell, most modern cell-phones can do the latter!

  54. You’re obviously dumber than proverbial bricks 😉 I mean OF COURSE the other 4 Town Halls as other venues!

    GIS and CBC were there, think the Advocate, but Nation not so sure & no VOB

  55. Anonymous

    You! i feel real special that i get a lil mention pun Ian Bourne’s website. ha ha ha ha but don’t go thinking that me and you is friends now, uh gine still cuss yuh when i tink yuh need um. Did you tell Carl Moore i send him the warmest greetings? A lil lie aint gine kill! ha ha ha ha ha

    Your contribution was very good. This is what I am all about. Sharing ideas and having someone going forward with them to the relevant authorities. I seek no praise, or special mention. I just wish to see Barbados as good as i believe it can be.

  56. Adrian Hinds

    Sorry! dah Anon above is me Uh recently get a new laptop from work and forget to enter my name

  57. Hants

    @ Ian,

    Good job.

    I am not surprised by the poor attendance. A very small number of people will make the effort to contribute to the discussions.

    They will start complaining after the Act has been passed.

    Hopefully 5 Town Hall meetings will be enough for the public’s concerns to positively influence the final document.

  58. Hants

    Is this true?

    “CHIEF Town Planner, Mark Cummins, says squatting in Zone 1 areas is going on unabated in Barbados and the chief offenders appear to be non-Barbadians. His comments came yesterday ‘

    This is dangerous.

  59. Hants

    BFP we need to discuss this.

    http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/NewViewNewsleft.cfm?Record=37173

    IMHO it is dangerous to risk polluting the Water supply by allowing people to squat in Zone 1.

  60. Pingback: Barbados Freedom Of Information Meeting #1 « Barbados Free Press

  61. First of all congrats to Barbados Free Press for giving the so-called Freedom of Information bill, or what I would call “ACcess to Records and Documents bill” the attention it deserves. As usual this is missed in the mainstream media.
    Please visit Barbados Consumers Watch (http://bdosconsumers.blogspot.com) for a report from me on the Town Hall meeting at Cawmere (oops Combermere).
    Below are some thoughts:

    Dear Doug, colleagues,

    I spent part of yesterday reading through the draft bill (I hope you folk are reading it).

    My position right now is that rather than follow the FOIA’s of the U.S and the Freedon of Information and Privacy Act of Canada, which the drafter of this bill seems to have done, as a progressive country we should be crafting a bill with radical changes to include :

    Access to :
    1. Access to information held by private companies that relates to the interests of consumers.
    2. Access to information, via permanent secretaries and directors of state and statutory departments that is relevant to consumers.

    Rather than continue the practice of importing foreign practices or turning to them as “best practices” we should look at other developing countries that have told these countries and their international agencies that their approaches are not relevant to the needs of our societies.

    This is an opportunty Doug, for your organisation to stand up and shine.

    The Freedom of Information Bill should not only relate to records because essentially it is an “Access to Public Records and Documents bill”.

    Clearly the former administration or their civil service person (s) took the old approach of rather than finding out the “needs” of people, they went to what obtains in foreign countries.

    So we now have a document which the typical bureaucratic approach would lean towards tweaking rather than changing radically, which, in my opinion, is what is required. At this year’s economics conference at the Central Bank of Barbados the point was authoritatively made that one of the reasons there is limited trading in the stock exchange is the limited information made available to potential investors. It’s not just the balance sheet, it is the unknown details which apparently, are not shared with the public.

    Access to Information is not access to documents and records. Consumers need access to information in the widest sense.

    Hallam Hope
    caritel@hallamhope.com
    424-0894/822-1414

  62. Brutus

    Hallam, you make some interesting points but can you clarify what you mean by “information in the broader sense”? What information are you contemplating that is not covered by the term “documents”. Can you give examples?

  63. Tell me Why

    Hi Ian, this is Tell me Why. First, thank you for your being man enough to speak about Sagicor’s behaviour in relation to policy holders. Secondly,I had intentions of attending that Town Hall Meeting, but like other bloggers, we must be careful, since we all know that politicians usually read the blogs and might link statements made at the meeting with statements made on the blogs, thus exposing our identities. However, we must thank you for a fantastic report on the meeting.

    BFP. I realised you closed comments regarding Ian without any posts.

  64. Hants

    I hope all of you bloggers are listening to the BLP paid political broadcast on VOB by Phillip Nichols.

    Somebody forgot to tell them they LOST.
    I live in Canada and even I know that. Lick mout Lou tell me so.

    I have a theory.

    These attacks on the DLP are an attempt to anger David Thompson with the hope that he will intensify the forensic audits and prosecute the old BLP Guard thereby paving the way for the 15 NEW YOUNG candidates the BLP will be introducing to the public.

    If David Thompson was a vindictive expletive like me they would get their wish.

    However the DLP will simply ignore these radio broadcast and the YOUNG BLP turks will have to do their own dirty work.

    Anyhow uh gine to my favourite website other than my own so I can see what going on in my backyard.

    http://www.bnn.ca/

  65. Why can’t we all accept that BU and BFP can make a contribution using different strategies? Both blogs have pillar issues which drive them. We have commented several times that we will NOT be overly critical in the early tenure of the David Thompson administration. We will not be bullied to stray away from that promise.

    We assure the BFP family that we are watching very carefully to those areas which concerned us before the election e.g. open immigration policy, governance issues, physical development plan (lack of), corruption etc. Commonsense dictate that a 9 month old government should be given time to formulate policies, it is not like they are running a rumshop.

    We are aware that human nature is such that we cannot please ALL.

  66. reality check

    Hants

    your theory is too machaivellian and partisan

    Thompson has moved into first position and is now accountable to his electorate for promises made.

    While much more likeable and less obnoxious than the last power hungry, corrupt first minister, he has to perform or get ready to move over for those who are ready willing and able.

    These are not so much attacks but more opportunities to listen to the public of what needs to be fixed urgently. Attitude, accountability and open communication is the job of a Prime Minister. Rather than traditionally trying to be above it all he should occassionally come on the blogs and communicate with the people. BFP appears to be doubling its viewership every six months or so.

    Thoughtful and insightful commentary discussing the issues that face Barbadians does not exist in the main stream media.

    Cut and paste FOI legislation nine months after the fact does not instill anyone with confidence that this is a genuine effort in fulfilling these promises nor does legislation that exempts the PM and his ministers for oversight for some bogus excuse like National Security a la Homeland Security in the US.

    It would be great to see a whole bunch of idealistic, more savy and responsible group of young people coming through the ranks of both parties including independents running for office.

    Phillip Nicholls, the fformer inancial bagman, should be doing his phone ins from Dodds and yes the citizens are all looking for the forensic audits and are not impressed with the silence.

  67. Juris

    Do you people mean PHILIP Nicholls or HALLAM Nicholls; the former is a lawyer who, to the best of my knowledge, is not partisan; the latter…well…enough has been said about him on these blogs.

    @ reality check,
    If BFP is doubling its readership every 6 months, then BU must be quadrupling theirs every 3 months…look at the respective numers on this topic.

    ***********************

    BFP says,

    Hello Juris,

    You will find that the number of people interested in making comments on a particular article seldom has anything to do with the number of people reading the article. One or two interested people, or people with an agenda, can make an article look far more active than it it.

    I think that BU would agree in this observation.

    Plus, most of the comments at BU are left by a core of four or five people – three of whom shifted their discussions to BU when they were banned for prohibited activities at BFP.

    Perhaps BU can confirm their numbers to satisfy your curiosity, but as for BFP – according to every standard available to us – our recently achieved 4 million visitor level places us ahead of every other blog or website in Barbados in visitor traffic. Yes, that includes the Nation etc.

  68. Juris

    Good for you, BFP, though I still think BU is the more open and less restrictive blog…incidentally…how does one determine the readership of blogs?

    ********************

    BFP says,

    Hello Juris,

    Yes, BU has certainly been less restrictive in letting Wishing in Vain continue his rants about Mia’s supposed personal life while we banned WIV for the same thing because we didn’t see the evidence for it. Obviously a British court agrees with us and not WIV.

    We also think it is humorous how some of the most rabid ITAL supporters became entirely silent about the issue once their DLP was elected and remain silent about it even when Mr. Thompson violated all conflict of interest and transparency standards with his use of borrowed corporate jets. Those folks have mostly adopted BU as their discussion base now and seem happy together.

    As to the blog numbers, we have several internal counters programmed as does BU. There are also independent ranking and rating services available. ie: WordPress itself publishes the “top 100” list out of their 4.4 million blogs. BFP often appears on the Top 100 list and has even reached as high as #4 (!) during the last Barbados election where we were at one point ahead of Fox News blog and Greta Susterin (sp?) blog. There are also many independent ratings services that “guesstimate” the numbers and provide lists. Although their guessing errors can be wild, they are presumably consistent across the board and so provide an accurate list of which Barbados blogs are on top.

    BFP is consistently shown as the #1 Barbados website – ahead of the Nation and all others.

    That’s not us talking, that’s the judgment of independent monitoring services. If you find anything different, please let us know.

    Clive

  69. Hants

    reality check

    “your theory is too machaivellian and partisan”

    Prehaps you are right so let me tell you what I really think.

    MIA will never be the Prime Minister of Barbados even though she is a member of, in her words,”the political class.

    reality check

    “Thoughtful and insightful commentary ”

    What I heard yesterday was a political broadcast attempting to discredit the DLP.

    Anyhow don’t take me seriously. I form my opinions based on what is happening in the rest of the world including Canada where I live.

    B

  70. Hants

    continued….

    Barbados is doing well considering the state of the world economy and the DLP government is doing a good job.

  71. Hants

    @Juris

    “PHILIP Nicholls.”

    A person by that name read the BLP political broadcast on VOB yesterday.

  72. dogbitemuh

    Carbon Taxes are coming soon.

  73. St George's Dragon

    A few other thoughts on the FoI Bill.

    1. There is no penalty for persons interfering with the activity of the Commissioner or his staff (Section 11(2)).

    2. The bodies actually covered by the Bill are Ministries and “prescribed authorities”, meaning “local authorities” (Question – what are they), “public statutory corporations or bodies” (Question – would that include BNOC for example? What about GEMS?) or those bodies whose names are published by the Minister. It would be better surely for any body ultimately controlled or owned by the Government to be subject to the Bill rather than it be at the behest of the Minister to choose.

    3. Section 17 (2) is missing.

    4. Although there is a 3 day notice period as to whether an application has been approved (which incidentally seems incredibly tight) I can’t see any timescales for the actual provision of documents (Section 25). Also, having that 3 day period is surely setting up the whole thing to fail as it is so tight. Better to have a longer – say 14 day period – that public bodies might stand a chance of achieving.

    5. The draft Bill seems to class information on tenders returned on public projects as exempt from release. Not a great help in rooting out corruption (Section 38).

  74. dogbitemuh

    We have just signed ourselves over to one world government(EPA). Let the new World Order games begin

  75. dogbitemuh

    he who has an ear let him hear.

  76. dogbitemuh

    “People Perish for the lack of knowledge”.

    Please, I beg those on this forum to open your eyes and see what is going on around you. This stock market crash did not happen by chance. it was engineered. If you need more info you can ask me on this forum.

  77. Brutus

    St. George’s Dragon,

    You have raised some good points.

    I too am trying to understand which bodies would be covered by, or not covered by, the legislation. We definitely need clarity on this.

    In terms of the time frame, the only answer I could find is Section 24 – once a document has been requested, and any applicable payment has been made, “access to the document shall be given promptly”. I take promptly to mean “without delay”. Perhaps we need the lawyers to explain this one.

    I don’t think the 3 day period is too tight to give a response as to whether or not access will be granted. In most cases access should be automatic because the entity has already published a list of available documents. Of course, we can anticipate teething problems in the early months (years?) of FOI.

    Why do you read Section 38 as exempting information on tenders on public projects?Do you think 38(a) is the problem?

  78. JC

    St. George Dragon, Good points I will TRY to attend SixRoads meeting; I have an exam the next day. Thanks Mr. Bourne, Cheers!

  79. St George's Dragon

    My difficulty with the 3 day response time is that at worst we are talking about fairly complex organisations trying to respond to one-off questions about access to documents. Knowledge of the whereabouts of those documents (which could be letters in a project file somewhere, rather than published and readily available documents) will be reliant on other people in that organisation. We will of course see in due course whether they can cope in 3 days – but frankly, I doubt it.

    On public sector tenders, Section 38 (a) can certainly be construed to exempt tender information etc., from release as it could be “confidential business matter”. I am concerned as you can, for instance, imagine this section being applied to exempt the negotiation correspondence on the 3s highways contract from release. If the tenderer is still trading, it would be more restrictive. There was some debate about similar provisions when the FoI Act was introduced in the UK. In practice it worked ok as there was a “public interest test” which had a bias in favour of release. Section 43 of the Bill could be the equivalent. A clever lawyer will have to tell us whether it works.

    A point I didn’t post on before (but which I have included in my formal feedback on the Bill) is that there are a number of references to “public authorities”. This is not a defined term in the Bill, so needs to be changed to “Ministries and prescribed authorities” which is the proper terminology in the Bill. Not a big deal, but let’s get the drafting right rather than have the lawyers argue about it at our expense in the Courts in the future .

    On the whole, and I should have said this before, I think the Bill is a great step forward. I hold my breath and wait to see whether the bodies governed by it will be able to respond to its requirements.

    *************************

    BFP says,

    Hi friend,

    I’d be careful about pronouncing the FOI bill to be “a great step forward” because 1/ we have no idea what it will look like in the final version and 2/ If the government fails to give it teeth through action, it will be worth less than nothing – because it will be a sham that the politicians can point to and say “there. done. What are you complaining about?”

  80. Adrian Hinds

    dogbitemuh
    October 20, 2008 at 5:32 pm
    We have just signed ourselves over to one world government(EPA). Let the new World Order games begin
    ==================================

    Dogbitemuh: What to you defines a one world government?

    What do you expect to be significantly different in Barbados as a result of the EPA?

  81. dogbitemuh

    Hello Adrian,

    off the top of my head I will give you a brief explanation. At the end of this if you like, we can exchange emails and I can direct you to links on sites were you can do some research on your own.

    A layman’s definition would be:

    Essentially the New World Order is the bringing together of all nations of the world under one world leadership. Economically, Politically as well as the under one religions leader where we worship under one umbrella religion.

    First of all let me tell you that the stock market crash we have just recently had and the issue with the subprime mortgages did not happen by chance. It was engineered by a group of people, the elite, called the illuminati who are seeking to create a One World Government called the NEW WORLD ORDER. A couple of years back, I think in 1991 President George Herbert Walker Bush spoke about it at the United Nations but many people did not know then what form it would take. Now we know a little more.

    Part of the plan is to divide the earth into regions called unions. There is already the European Union and now they are seeking to create a North American Union. The North American Union is the combination of Mexico, USA and Canada into one Union. This has been already signed into motion by George W Bush under the the SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement) along with the then President of Mexico, Vincent Fox and Prime Minister of Canada Paul Martin (You may have heard Lou Dobbs speak about this agreement on CNN). The Central American Union is coming and the African Union already exist. Now we come to the Caribbean where there is still the move to form what is called the CSME which is a also a union of caribbean territories. The EPA then would be an agreement signed to facilitate this union of territories and bring the region into the New World Order System under area of trade, environmental and social developmental structures. Note that each territory signed initially with some trouble from Guyana and St Lucia but in the end everyone is on board.

    The aim then is to bring all these unions together. Each union will have a head representing each and all will be subject to the supreme leader, the head of the one world government, the Antichrist. it is much easier to control the world in this format instead of individual countries.

    What I have been telling you am about to tell you may sound like a fairy tale and crazy to say the least but it is true. You may even doubt it but it is my duty let you know. In the bible it says, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities against powers against the rulers of the darkness of this world against spiritual wickedness in high places”. These men the illuminati who run the world are the wicked ones and they control the world. For centuries they have been working toward the goal of One world Government and have had control of Presidents, Prime Ministers and Other world leaders and have used them to meet their agenda through manipulation. We are now heading toward the time the Bible says when the son of perdition will be revealed, The Antichrist. The New world Order Sytem is being setup in order to facilitate his arrival. I believe he is already here and so it is important for me to let you and others that it is perhaps a good time to turn your lives around give them to Jesus who is the only one who can save us from what is about to come. I would suggest the confession of sins and repentance to Jesus Christ and walking in his light.

  82. Brutus wrote ; Hallam, you make some interesting points but can you clarify what you mean by “information in the broader sense”? What information are you contemplating that is not covered by the term “documents”. Can you give examples?

    The intention of the bill, as stated at page 3 Section (a), speaks to giving citizens the right and freedom to receive idea and information. Not all information is held in public documents. In fact, I am suggesting that there is a lot of information held by companies which affects the citizen and which the citizen should have access to. As a communications analyst I want information that can be used to (a) argue a case for a better deal for citizens and (b) recommend after additional analysis policies that government should consider to provide citizens with improved education, business opportunities, jobs, access to telecommunicatons etc.
    Information, as defined as information contained in public documents, is therefore limited and incomplete as far as the interests of citizens are concerned.
    Further, while the section on page 3 speaks of “information” nowhere in the same section are the words “documents” and “reports” mentioned. However, replete in other sections of the draft bill are references to “documents” but not “information”. So I also see something of a conundrum in the intentions of the bill and what it actually would seek to legislate.
    There are many other aspects of the bill which appear either unclear, inadequate or potentially at conflict with other legisation, such as the confidentiality legislation which comes under the Telecommunications Act and the Utilities Regulation Act of the Fair Trading Commission. For example, if an item of information that cannot possibly be considered “confidential” is contained in a document which Cable & Wireless provides to the Fair Trading Commission with an understanding of non-disclosure and Brutus wanted to access that information which legislation would take precedence?
    My basic point though was that my preference would have been for access to information, not just public documents. Do we always have to import legislation as defined by other countries and intended for the citizens of those countries?
    A lot of the information of interest to me is financial or numbers such as how any people do not have telephone service, how many people in rural Barbados compared with urban Barbados have telephones, where exactly are there pockets of poverty and how is this defined, company information that is ill-defined whch might be useful to potential stock purchasers, data that shows the earnings of various unregulated telecommunication services which would more than likely put a lie to the view that domestic telephone service is propped up by international earnings, cost studies held by the Fair Trading Commission etc, etc.
    Hallam
    caritel@hallamhope.com
    (246) 424-0894

  83. I found it interesting that a number of people who addressed the committee on the Freedom Of Information Bill at Princess Margaret School said they had not read the document or were seeing it for the first time. This was reflected in their queries. The attendance was around 20 and only a few people spoke.

    This was the third Town Hall meeting I attended. All have had small attendances and few participants with recommendations based on rigourous reading. Being unable to attend the fourth meeting at Alexandra School Wednesday coming I would say that to date we have not had the public discussion necessary for such an important bill. I do intend to make a written submission ahead of the new deadline at the end of November. The Barbados Association of Non Governmental Organisations (BANGO) has been in touch with a few folk and I suggest that persons who are serious about making a contribution contact BANGO and Roosevelt King at admin@bango.org.bb or 431-8513 or email me at : caritel@hallamhope.com

    At this late stage I am still inclined to work with any interested party on a submission, but time is clearly short. I am away for a week on Monday. Concerns about potential conflicts with other legislation (see Barbados Free Press) has led me to send an email to : freedomofinfobill@barbados.gov.bb and copy a lawyer on the committee, Ms. Monique Taitt.

    I have heard from nobody and efforts to contact Permanent Secretary Capt. Straughn prior to my departure for a week overseas on Monday have been unsuccessful. I am concerned about the increased cost to taxpayers from any further bloating of bureaucracy; the limited attention to “information” compared with “documents and records”; the absence of even a definition of the meaning of “information” while one is provided of “documents”, the apparent absence of considering best practices in e-Goverment and use of the government portal to reduce cost and avoid another government “silo”.

    As a sovereign nation and leader in the developing world could this legislation not have considered information held in private companies and encouraged access to information which senior civil servants have, even basic explanations? The top down approach to policy has for long been discredited, as against the bottom up approach, where the needs of the society are rigorously pursued. Despite the best intentions, Town Hall meetings do not work, but are necessary. The old and lazy way of public communication is reflected in these failed Town Hall meetings. Ian Bourne suggested using facebook, blogs and even promoting meetings via loud speakers. New Media thinking got Obama elected. When will we understand that advertising via the Government Information Service and wasting thousands of taxpayers dollars in press advertisements is not enough?

  84. Hants

    It is not the Government’s fault if Barbadians refuse to participate in Town Hall meetings.

    These meetings should be well attended but they are not so the few attendees become defacto politicians.

    Don’t complain if wunna doan like de legislation when de guvment approve it.

  85. Along with integrity legislation, all persons in positions of authority should be made to declare, on assuming office, whether they are a member of Freemasonry or any networking group.

    Some would suggest that this is unnecessary as such groups are charitable, but such membership is inherently against independence of choice or decision.

    When a public offficer makes a decision it must be independent and BE SEEN TO BE INDEPENDENT of any other influence.

    Thus, a Freemason in office may be seen to place the interests of special interests above those of country.

    While some would disagree, where does this leave the ‘seen to be independent?’

    In addition, if the membership is not disclosed, it is plain that the actions of any public officer in such membership cannot be clearly examined along with his alternate associations to ensure transparency and independence of decision-making.

    Therefore, any argument against full disclosure of membership along with fellow members, has no basis whatsoever.

    While I am focusing on the mechanics and morality of the issue, without allegation, there are those who would go so far as to allege that this membership may indeed influence decisions and therefore disclosure is not only morally right but absolutely necessary.

    To this I would not agree nor disagree, but merely note that one without sin to hide, has no cause to hide.

    Have a think.

  86. I have three concerns relating to this new bill.

    1. What role will the public/national library be expected to play in assisting the public with accessing information?

    2. Has anyone sought to hear the thoughts of the information services professionals (librarians, records managers and information managers) particularly in the public service, on this matter? For that matter what has the Library Association of Barbados and the Barbados Association of Records Management to say?

    3. With the changes in the names of government ministries, departments, agencies, and the movement of sections, departments and areas of responsibilities within and outside of ministries, not just at election times but during cabinet reshuffles, how is the provision of information to the public impacted? Who keeps tract of the who is responsible, and the where so that the public is not “shuffled” from ministry to ministry, from department to department?

  87. Bajan Nobility

    The excitement over the Freedom of Information bill passed quickly, didn’t it? There is no Freedom of Information bill. There is no ITAL (integrity transparency accountability laws) in Barbados.

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