AUDIO: Interview on Sky 99.5 FM on the JCC’s Invaders’ Bay law suit

sky995fmThis is a short interview I did with SKY 99.5FM on Tuesday 22nd November 2016 with Jessie-May Ventour and Edison Carr to discuss the Invaders’ Bay developments. Audio courtesy Sky 99.5 FM

  • Programme Date: Tuesday, 22 November 2016
  • Programme Length: 10:51
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4 thoughts on “AUDIO: Interview on Sky 99.5 FM on the JCC’s Invaders’ Bay law suit

  1. Why is public information such a well kept secret in this country?If both the opposition and present government would work together to keep information of urgent public concern a secret,I am left to question their motives on the matter.Threat or treat,exactly who is the secret behind the secret?Even on Sesame Street the two-headed monster had one body propelling it, and in our case,that body should be the citizenry, however,some unnamed John Doe has held our power hostage and is apparently using it to propel both the opposition and present ruling party to secrecy!Exactly how much of our public funds would be spent to conceal this secret in a recessionary period such as this? Could the gov’t truly be on to something that is worth the privy council’s input?Tell me, would their input fail us again,by releasing the guilty in the form of a scapegoat to run around our national mountain ranges and then relax triumphantly in Mucurapo?
    How many legal loopholes would this matter be putted through, on the public golf course?
    I believe that every single legal document,invoice,receipt,quotation,cheque etc. that involves public decisions and funds should be scanned and showcased immediately on a website accessible to the citizens of this country,the daily updated rolling financial records should be there too.In that way, as the invoice and other original documents are entered on the system,citizens 16yrs and over can use a pin # to readily see the impact of each transaction per ministry/state enterprise on our DAILY public revenue and expenditure in T&T. Audit meetings and auditors should be monitored by live cameras.Let the public see everything with regards to our monies and negotiations!Everything! Secrecy has never worked well for us in T&T and it probably never will!

    1. Hello Camille,

      I surely do feel your frustration, but while one can campaign for open data, it is important to accept that there is a gray area where certain matters arise. For example, if a public institution is in negotiation with a private entity and obtains legal or technical advice to inform its strategy, it would be detrimental if that info could be accessed via the FOIA. In such a case, the ‘essential public interest‘ would be jeopardised by disclosure since the public institution’s negotiating strategy would be open to lawful discovery. That would be a threat to the public interest of a kind that private entities do not suffer. Which is why the FOIA is designed so that if any of the ten exemptions are invoked, the public authority is obliged by S.35 to conduct a ‘public interest test’ to establish whether the disclosure is allowable.

      What is at stake here is that the two principles are in conflict – the ancient principle of ‘legal professional privilege’ weighed against the modern rights of access to information as provided in the FOIA. In this particular case, the problem is that the Minister has claimed repeatedly that the legal advices received all justify the course of action taken by the Ministry of Planning & Sustainable Development at Invaders’ Bay, yet he refuses to disclose them…what is more, having refused disclosure, at no point in the process has the Ministry shown that it conducted the required S.35 test…you see?

      The silence of the JCC on that development for the last year is another matter…

      Thanks for joining-in.

      Afra

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