ORG Participates in FOIA Advocacy efforts
The Organization for Responsible Governance is proud to join over a dozen Bahamian Civil Society and Private Industry Organizations which are mobilizing to engage and educate the public about the importance of the timely passage of a strong and fair Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Earlier this year, over 12 CSO’s came together to facilitate greater public input and generate recommendations that would strengthen the Bill and benchmark it against international standards. In July all recommendations gained from this effort had been submitted to the Minister and government committee in charge of creating the draft. Last week, Minister of Education, Jerome Fitzgerald’s announced that he had received a final report from the committee and would be reviewing it and determining th final version of the FOIA that would be tabled in October. There has been no information as to which recommendations had been included in the report or what basis the Minister would use for review. A letter was sent to Minister Fitzgerald requesting a meeting to discuss the bill and it’s tabling. No response has yet been issued.
Organizations participating to date:
Organization for Responsible Governance Citizens for a Better Bahamas,
The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employer's Confederation We The People,
The Abaco Chamber of Commerce Save The Bays,
The Nassau Institute reEarth,
The Bahamas Federation of Retailers Civil Society Bahamas
The HeadKnowles Foundation It’s Our Time
The Bahamas Press Club WaterKeepers Bahamas
The Partner organizations are now taking steps to ensure continued public input and awareness of the importance of a fair and strong FOIA. We are concerned that a “True” FOIA is tabled, passed and enacted in the coming year and is not further delayed. Beginning on September 15th, ads will run in The Nassau Guardian, The Tribune and The Punch about FOIA and some of the recommendations. The ads will encourage Bahamians to sign a petition which endorses the tabling and passage of a bill and to send emails to their representatives in Parliament encouraging adoption of the recommendations and passage of the Bill. The petition can be found at www.campaign242.org/foia_bahamas . This will be supported by social media blasts, radio and television appearances by CSO representatives, public presentations on FOIA and articles in news outlets across The Bahamas. Additionally, small teams are being formed to meet with the Prime Minister, the leader of the Opposition and select MPs to review the recommendations and prepare them for the tabling of the bill.
The passage and enactment of a Strong and Fair Freedom of Information Act will benefit citizens and residents, private businesses, civil society organizations, industry associations, media outlets, unions and, ultimately, government. This is a matter of great importance to The Commonwealth and it will take the energy, input and cooperation of all those who live and care about The Bahamas to bring it to fruition. We all have a stake in this effort and all citizens, residents, private business, churches, civil society organizations, private industry groups and governmental officials and workers are encouraged to join and lend your support and voice.
Click on this link and SIGN the petition www.campaign242.org/foia_ bahamas .Reach out to your friends, family and acquaintances to ask them to sign and share the petition.
To keep informed and involved in ORG’s efforts to promote Accountability and Transparency in Governance please follow us on Facebook at ORG Bahamas Foundation and join “The Campaign for the Bahamas” at www.campaign242.org .