Sunday, February 28, 2021

‘Access to Information Bill Seeks to Enforce Right to Information’ Justice Minister

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By: Kebba AF Touray

Abubacarr Tambadou, the Gambia’s Justice Minister has told Lawmakers at the country’s National Assembly that the Access to Information Bill 2019 primarily aims to ensure the enforceability of the right to access information through the right Courts.

Justice Minister Tambadou said this yesterday December 17th 2019 at the National Assembly while responding to the concerns raised by Deputies during the debate on the said Bill.

“The bill above all seeks to ensure the enforceability of the right to access the information through the course,” he said; that currently, when a request is made for the provision of certain information, there is no obligation for any public office to provide this information; that there is a legal basis to demand for the release of the needed information. He told Deputies that when the Bill comes into Law, it will change the whole status quo of the country’s democratic governance.

The Access to Information Bill is aimed at reinforcing the county’s democratic credentials and is consistent with the Government’s promise of transparency and greater accountability in Government functions.

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Justice Ministerr Tembadou added: “The Access to Information Bill 2019 seeks to enable ordinary Gambians to go to Court and seek redress if there is denial in access to information that they believe is not and should not be restricted”; that at the Select Committee level of the National Assembly, they will have more opportunity to look into individual clauses of the Bill and clarify any issue that may arise. He said the tenure of Commissioners needs to be reviewed to ensure consistency with the other Commissions they have set up previously, so as to preserve institutional memory.

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