Save The Bays supports the critical passage of a Freedom of Information Act for The Bahamas. As we push for legislation to protect our common marine environment, we demand insight into the decision making process to be assured that the government is acting in the best interest of its people.
A democracy, by definition, is based in transparency. A Freedom of Information Act would be a guarantee to the Bahamian people of protection against secretive or closed-door decision making in government.
The right to information is a fundamental issue that affects us all. We deserve to know how much taxes are collected, what the government is spending our money on, and which licenses or permits are issued or denied on what basis. Never is public information something that should be given by way of privilege or ministerial discretion.
Most modern democracies have enacted their own Freedom of Information Act. Yet, despite repeated pledges from government leaders to pass such legislation, the Bahamian people remain without a fundamental law that provides us with a statutory right to the information that affects us.
A Freedom of Information Act would dramatically change and improve the face of governance in The Bahamas. It would ensure that citizens are not kept in the dark and that helpful information is disclosed to the press and to interested parties where appropriate. Perhaps most importantly, it would give people an opportunity to do something about any abuse they have been subjected to or breaches of their rights.
Apart from outlining the right of the public to access certain information, it would help keep politicians and civil servants honest and hold them accountable to their ultimate employer – the tax paying public.