Jamaica’s Access to Information Act was passed in 2002 and came into effect in 2004. The Act grants all members of the public the right to obtain access to official documents held by public authorities unless the information is exempt from disclosure under limited categories provided by the Act. The right of access to information is an internationally recognised human right. Having the right of access to information promotes accountability, transparency and public participation in national decision making.
Since 2005, JET has used the Access to Information Act to obtain a wide range of information relating to the environment, including monitoring reports for major developments, and maps and reports on mining and quarrying operations. JET uses this information to hold the government accountable to its mandate to protect the environment. JET has also filed appeals to the Access to Information Tribunal where public authorities have refused to provide information. The most recent appeal was heard on August 9, 2010 and concerned the request to the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) for veterinary reports for captive dolphin facilities operating in Jamaica. The appeal was successful and we received the veterinary reports.
For more information on how to make a request for information under the Access to Information Act see the website for the Access to Information Unit at http://www.ati.gov.jm