First Look

Gov’t issues another Certificate of Exemption to prevent release of information on Goat Islands Transshipment Port Project

Jamaica Environment Trust | 2014-11-12 00:00:00

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has learned that the Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, the Hon. Dr. Omar Davies, has issued a new Certificate of Exemption to exempt agreements and proposals on the proposed transshipment port near Goat Islands from public disclosure. The new Certificate, dated October 24, 2014, claims that the information is exempt from disclosure because premature disclosure would, or could reasonably be expected to, have a substantial adverse effect on the Jamaican economy, or the Government’s ability to manage the Jamaican economy.

The new Certificate was signed the day after the Supreme Court had ordered, by consent of the parties, that the previous Certificates issued by the Minister of Finance and Planning, the Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips, should be quashed as they had been issued by the wrong Minister.

“We are astonished by the lengths to which the government is going to avoid having to release this information by issuing a new Certificate. The Access to Information Act was passed by the GOJ to promote transparency and public participation in decision-making and this goes against the very objective of the Act,” said Danielle Andrade, Legal Director of the Jamaica Environment Trust.

At the next hearing date on June 3- 4, 2015, the Court will continue hearing the case concerning the Port Authority’s refusal to provide information to JET.


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