When silence is far from golden

Speaking at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus Thursday night, during one of the series of lectures to mark Barbados’ 50th anniversary of Independence, lecturer in economics and political studies, Dr Kristina Hinds-Harrison, touched on a sore point for many Barbadians.

Dr Hinds-Harrison, during her discourse on the subject Pride And Nationhood, acknowledged the strides that Barbados had made but noted the island’s development had nonetheless been retarded over the years. And she linked much of this to an absence of proper accountability, transparency and people participation in our governance processes. The absence of legislation that gave Barbadians the legal right to public information, she said, was a critical factor that needed to be addressed.

The academic also touched on the vexing question of integrity legislation. She reminded those in the audience of the Prevention of Corruption Act that gained favour with both sides of the Lower House in 2012 but to date still remained meaningless black and white script since it had not been proclaimed.

As of 2016 there are more than 100 democratic countries that have enacted laws that give their citizens the legal right to public information. In some jurisdictions, such legislation is more than 200 years old. In countries such as Canada private citizens have been accessing information from federal bodies for more than three decades as a right.

Of course, in most if not all these jurisdictions, there is also privacy legislation that prevents persons accessing personal information that might be in the possession of the Government. But the overarching ideal is that citizens have a lawful right to be made privy to public information that impacts on their day to day existence and livelihoods. Read more

Source: Barbados Today