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Tuesday 16 July 2019
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Civil society hails FOIA withdrawal

Dr Sheila Rampersad
Dr Sheila Rampersad

CIVIL society groups welcomed the Government's decision to withdrawal the controversial clause seven of the Miscellaneous Provisions (Tax Amnesty, Pensions, Freedom of Information, National Insurance, Central Bank and Non-Profit Organisations) Bill, 2019 which was passed, with amendments, in the Senate on Monday night. Media Association of TT (MATT) president Sheila Rampersad declared this was a proud moment for MATT, civil society and TT.

She noted the symposium MATT hosted last Saturday provided a fulcrum to the conversation on amendments to the FOIA, saying whenever civil society intervenes in these situations, good law is made better. She said the FOIA is good law and good law always endures.

Law Association president Douglas Mendes, SC, commended Government for withdrawing clause seven, saying the Government showed maturity in responding to the public's concern.

Activist Afra Raymond said the FOIA needed to be fortified to ensure there is greater access to freedom of information and welcomed any public consultations to be had on FOIA.

Fixin TT head Kirk Waithe noted the removal of clause seven and that the FOIA remains unchanged. Waithe was critical of Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi. Like Anand Ramlogan, Waithe said Al-Rawi had "no business" being this country's AG, claiming, "His incompetence is compounded by the painfully strained relationship he seems to have with the truth."

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