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Minister Grange Outlines Steps Being Taken by MICYS to Bolster the Access to Information in Jamaica

The Honourable Olivia "Babsy" Grange, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports (MICYS) has said that with the use of dialogue, consultation and action, "I have been fully engaged in the effort to bolster the Access to Information regime in Jamaica."

Minister Grange was addressing the First Quarterly Meeting of the Access to Information Association of Administrators (ATIAA) for the 2008 - 2009 financial year, held at the Bank of Jamaica Auditorium on Friday, 2nd May.

As part of the 'dialogue, consultation and action", Miss Grange reported that she had met with the Access to Information Advisory stakeholders at their request to listen to their concerns in order to see how such concerns could be addressed.

The Minister said she had also discussed with Mr. Damian Cox, Acting Director of the Access to Information Unit, how to improve compliance and monitoring with regard to all government entities. "The Unit will maintain an up to date and comprehensive list of all government entities and ensure that all of these entities submit their reports on a timely basis."

She said the plan was to set up mechanisms that would allow for real time monitoring of requests and how such requests were dealt with by public authorities.

Minister said also that Jamaica's participation in the Carter Centre's Conference on Access to Information, provided exposure to international best practices in the implementation of access to information regime and planning.

At the conference chaired by former United States President Jimmy Carter, Miss Grange chaired a panel and made a presentation, which was highly acclaimed, on the "Challenges and Successes of the ATI Regime" in Jamaica.

In the midst of all else that is happening in the area of access to information, Miss Grange said, the Unit is continuing its public education campaign, which has included an all-day International Right to Know Day exhibit.

She said a major sensitization campaign was also planned in partnership with the National Council of Education, targeting school board members across the educational regions.

Minister Grange said a new Joint Select Committee had also been appointed to review the Access to Information Act as stipulated in the Law which mandates that the Act should be reviewed every three years. Members of the Review Committee are drawn from the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Minister said the must aim "to see a more informed and engaged society in the process of governance in Jamaica."

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