Any attempt by the Government to stifle the public's freedom to information will be met with court action, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar warned on Monday night.
Although debate on the Miscellaneous Provisions (Tax Amnesty, Pensions, Freedoms of Information, National Insurance, Central Bank and non-profit organisations) Bill 2019 had been scheduled for Parliament, Persad-Bissessar took time off to attend the United National Congress' Monday Night Forum at Naparima College in San Fernando.
Contending that democracy is now under threat, former Attorney General Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj has threatened to mount a public campaign to stop the government from amending the Freedom of Information Act without public consultation.
During a press conference at his office in San Fernando, Maharaj said the proposed amendments were not in the public interest and will hinder people from accessing the Act to get government-held information.
A mass appeal by at least 30 private bodies, including the Law Association of T&T (LATT) is trying to force the Government to withdraw the Clause 7 amendment to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The LATT, in a media release yesterday, said it supported the call for public consultation on the proposed amendments to the FOIA.
"The FOIA has become a cornerstone in civil society’s effort to hold public authorities to account.
Former Joint Consultative Council (JCC) president Afra Raymond is questioning why, in all the discussions surrounding amendments to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), nothing is being said about the longstanding breach of Section 40 of the Act which calls for data about the Act itself to be published annually. That data was last tabled in Parliament in 2008/2009 and made public in 2010.
Raymond has successfully used the FOIA to get information on the aborted Sandals project, as well as the Invaders Bay project
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has been cleared of any wrongdoing in connection to marijuana found on her property some five years ago.
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith on Thursday announced that Persad-Bissessar was not found responsible for the drugs on her premises in any way.
Griffith, speaking during the police briefing at the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain responded to questions about the five-year-old case.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has walked away from his two-week long trip to the US, Netherlands and the UK with favourable terms for the country’s energy sector.
This is according to a release from his office.
He met with Shell in The Hague, Netherlands, BP in London and EOG Resources and BHP in Houston, United States.