Public officers get training on Freedom of Information Act
January 20, 2016: On Tuesday January 12, the Freedom of Information Unit (FOIU) of the Ministry of Communications conducted a training session with sixteen participants from the ten agencies which fall under the remit of the Ministry of Communications.
This session forms part of the Ministry’s attempt to foster greater awareness of freedom of information and was specially tailored to allow participants to enhance their skills in administration of the Freedom of Information Act; troubleshoot common issues; develop a deeper understanding of exemptions and administering Public Interest Tests; increase awareness of the legal obligation to publish Annual FOIA Statements; increase awareness of the legal obligations of timely responses to Freedom of Information requests; and improve their practical skills in reducing the work involved in processing requests.
In his remarks to the participants, the Hon. Maxie Cuffie, Minister of Communications underscored that the Freedom of Information Act is essential to facilitating good governance, accountability and transparency, which are important since these are some of the core values of this Government. He further affirmed that an understanding of this legislation and the obligations of public authorities, are of utmost importance to the work of the Ministry of Communications and its ability to be a source of credible information.
The agencies and divisions which were represented include: Information Division, Government Printery Services Division, National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS), National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago, Government Information Services Limited, Board of Film Censors and the Caribbean New Media Group. Employees from the Ministry of Communications’ Head Office were also in attendance.
The next sensitisation training session is carded for February, 2016.
About the Freedom of Information Act:
The Freedom of Information Act, Chapter 22:02 came into effect in 1999. The Act provides a legally enforceable right to members of the public to request access to information in the possession of public authorities.
It also allows an individual the right to amend personal records that are inaccurate, incomplete or even misleading. The Freedom of Information Act, Chapter 22:02 hinges upon the principle that information collected and generated by the government is a resource of the people. As such, it should be accessible as freely as possible to members of the public, except where certain defined exceptions and/or exemptions prohibit or limit such access.
For further information please contact:
The Corporate Communications Division
Ministry of Communications