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Significant Differences in Caribbean RTI Rating Scores

Image by Kmusser

Image by Kmusser

There are significant discrepancies in protection for the right to information (RTI) in two countries in the Caribbean region. Assessments of two of these laws released today by the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) were based on the RTI Rating, an internationally renowned tool for assessing the strength of RTI legislation developed by CLD and Access Info Europe. The RTI Rating found that the Cayman Islands’ Freedom of Information Law scored comparatively well, with 112 points out of a possible score of 150, which would be tied for 13th position globally compared to national laws. By contrast, the Bahamian Freedom of Information Bill scored just 88 points, resulting in a tie for 48th place.

“We welcome the fact that the Cayman Islands has such a strong RTI law,” said CLD Executive Director, Toby Mendel. “This further supports the calls by local campaigners in the Bahamas for improvements to their Bill before it is passed into law, although this should not be used as an excuse to further delay adoption of this Bill.”

Despite the differences in score, the two laws share some critical deficiencies, including exceptions which are illegitimate in nature, overbroad or lack proper harm tests. Both laws also fail to apply a public interest override to all exceptions and exclude many public bodies from their ambit altogether.

Across the Caribbean, scores range broadly from Antigua, which just edges out the Cayman Islands with a score of 113, to the Dominican Republic, which places a dismal 93rd among the 102 laws currently rated.

The Rating score for the Bahamas is available here.
The Rating score for the Cayman Islands is available here

UPDATE: CLD has also carried out a revised rating of the Bahamas’ draft FOI Bill, 2015, Read here

Full results for the International RTI Rating are available at: www. RTI-Rating.org.

For further information, please contact:

Michael Karanicolas
Senior Legal Officer
Centre for Law and Democracy
email: michael@law-democracy.org
tel: +1 902 448-5290
Twitter: @law_democracy

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