KINGSTON, JAMAICA – For the first time, Caribbean governments and civil society came together to discuss access to information and public participation in governance at a landmark conference in Kingston, Jamaica on March 20-21.
At the close of the conference, a Caribbean network on freedom of information was launched to help “improve standards for access to information in the region”.
Conference participants included journalists, government officials, and environmentalists from 11 Caribbean countries, funded by the Commonwealth Foundation. Tribune columnist Larry Smith attended, but the Bahamas government declined to send a representative.
Participants reviewed the status and effectiveness of freedom of information laws in the region, as well as institutional structures for implementation and enforcement. Jamaica is one of seven Caribbean countries (Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominican Republic, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Cayman Islands) to have freedom of information laws in force.