The Access to Information Act gives a general right of access to official documents held by government organizations. These include: Government Ministries, Agencies and Departments, Statutory Bodies, Parish Councils, wholly-owned Government companies or those in which the Government has more than 50% shares and publicly-funded educational institutions.
It is noteworthy that some documents are exempt from disclosure under the Access to Information Act. These are documents which, it is believed, should not be disclosed in order to protect essential public interests or the private/business affairs of others. Similar statutes internationally recognize these concerns as well and make similar provisions.
Types of documents are exempt from disclosure
Documents pertaining to:-
- Security, Defense, International Relations (S. 14 [a])
- The Cabinet (S. 15)
- Law Enforcement (S. 16)
- Legal Privilege (S. 17)
- The National Economy (S. 18)
- Government’s deliberative processes (S. 19)
- Business affairs of others (trade secrets, etc.) (S. 20)
- Heritage sites (S. 21)
- Personal privacy (S. 22)\
How to make a request under the Access to Information Act
To make a request under the ATI Act, please identify the document you wish to have access to and the government body most likely to have it. You may write/phone in/e-mail or fax your request giving as much information as possible about the document in order to help the Officer assigned for those purposes to quickly retrieve it.
Please Include contact information, which will allow the Officer responsible for ATI applications to remain in contact with you. This will assist the Officer in obtaining clarifications from you and enable the observance of the timeline (30 days from receipt of the Application) prescribed for finding and granting access as the case may be.
Requests to the Ministry of Education, Youth & Information may be forwarded to:
The Director of Documentation/Information & Access Services
Ministry of Education, Youth & Information
2-4 National Heroes Circle, Kingston 4