Freedom of Information Underpins Strong Democracy II

Citizen Advocate Afra Raymond continues to prosecute the important FoIA – David, Blogmaster

“…3. (1) The object of this Act is to extend the right of members of the public to access to information in the possession of public authorities…”
—Objects statement in FoIA

“…Because outside of national security matters and matters of the Cabinet…there are few other matters on the government files, that should really be secret…”
—PM Dr Keith Rowley at the post-Cabinet press briefing on 23 May 2019.

The objects statement in the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) and the PM’s statement, with which I entirely agree, are both cause for a pause in this haste to dilute citizens’ rights in this arena. The previous article was submitted before the proposed amendments were released, so this one starts with some important background to set the current imbroglio in context.

PNM’s founder Dr Eric Williams’ epic and imperishable work took him through an absolute forest of official information to recalculate our bearings and history so that we could understand our contribution and our place in the world. Today’s PNM would not have existed without the tremendous efforts of patriots of Dr Williams’ stature, but at the same time, today’s PNM finds itself deeply opposed to the very concept of Freedom of Information. Present-day researchers here in T&T have a very hard time getting official documents to prepare a critical study on anything which is official policy or practice.

Here is another citation in support of that assertion –

As Dr Terrence Farrell recounted, in ‘The Underachieving Society‘ (2012), in relation to the Vision 2020 exercise –
“…certain key persons involved in the implementation of policy initiatives elected not to participate. Calder Hart, chairman of UDECOTT,…did not participate. Ken Julien, president of the University of Trinidad & Tobago, and Noel Garcia, head of the Housing Development Corporation, key agencies in the implementation of government policy, also were not part of the Vision 2020 exercise…” (pg 203)

Full Text:

Freedom of Information shifts part two


  • Vincent Codrington

    Do we in the Caribbean have a problem of accessing information ?
    From where I sit I think those charged with accessing and publishing information are unsure what is useful information . There is a tendency to flood the public with useless and very often malicious information.


  • Sharing information should go with the push for transparency. The challenge we have given our system of government is that it is built on a culture of secrecy.


  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David BU

    Transparency is not the destination . It is a means to a more lofty social objective. Do you recall what it is?


  • @Vincent

    Transparency is important because it promotes good civics. An engaged citizenry is the ideal.


  • and so the dance gins..


  • David

    Did we not have a document here detailing the total purchase price paid by Emera for 100% of the shares in the Light & Power by EMERA?

    Thanks, if so


  • Well, it seems like Donald Trump, of all people, has been able to ignore the advice of Bolton, Pompeo and the neo-con, Christian-evangelical-dominionist-fundamentalist-zionist war hawks and has avoided a final imperial defeat by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Iran, which unknowing to most in the West, has defeated the American empire at least four (4) times previously, by proxy, was on the threshold of tearing up, what the Vietnamese use to call ‘the paper tiger’.

    As a result, we get to live another day under the unfreedom of information we so enjoy.

    We warn them again. Should they mess with the Islamic Republic there shall be such a response that will overturn everything which we have come to think of as normal, in every sphere!

    Maybe Trump will get his Noble after all.


  • @Pachamama
    BB must be mightily pissed off.

    The Orange Trumpeter should keep his fingers crossed BB doesn’t recall an earlier co-operative US/Israel false-flag project that didn’t quite come off as planned and try for a repeat, this time as a solo Israeli directed project (perhaps with the help of cooperating proxies) and with Iranian bad guys as the designated evil-doers.

    The USS Liberty Revisited
    By Elias Davidsson
    Global Research

    As readers may recall, the USS Liberty was attacked by Israel during the six-day war in 1967, as it sailed at 5 knots in international waters off the Sinai coast. Of 294 crew members, 34 were killed and 171 wounded in the attack.[1] The Israeli government claimed and continues to claim that its military confused the Liberty with an Egyptian supply ship, the El Quseir, formerly used to transport horses.

    The Israeli government apologized for this “tragic mistake” and agreed to pay compensation. Israel’s explanation for the “mistake” was at the time accepted at face value by the U.S. government.[2] The surviving crew members, however, consistently claim that the attackers knew they targeted an American ship they intended to sink, leaving no witnesses alive. One of the surviving crew members, James M. Ennes, Jr., published in 1979 the first book on this event, “Assault on the Liberty”, which demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the Israelis deliberately attempted to sink the Liberty in the knowledge that it was an American ship and that the U.S. authorities, led by President Lyndon B. Johnson, intended to cover-up this fact. These two opposing views cannot be reconciled. Most writings on the Liberty case focus on this dispute.

    Yet, in 2003, a book by British investigative journalist Peter Hounam (“Operation Cyanide: Why the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War III”) and its accompanying BBC documentary film from 2002 (“USS Liberty: Dead in the Water”), changed the framework of debate.

    In his book, the author

    (a) puts to rest the legend that the attackers mistook the Liberty for an Egyptian ship;

    (b) demonstrates that both the Israeli and the U.S. governments have colluded in covering up the facts;

    (c) that both governments have used lies and obfuscation as part of the cover-up; and

    (d) that the Liberty’s true mission was never revealed. Documents declassified since then not only support Hounam’s revisionist narrative but suggest that the White House intended for the Liberty to be attacked and its crew killed.

    In 2018, Joan Mellen published another book on the USS Liberty (“Blood in the Water: How the U.S. and Israel Conspired to Ambush the USS Liberty”). The author corroborates largely Hounam’s findings and complements these with new testimonies. She, too, concludes that the attack on the Liberty was a joint U.S.-Israel false-flag operation aimed at toppling the Nasser regime in Egypt.


  • Slavery reparations hearing ignites fiery debate in Congress

    19 June 2019

    Should the US pay slavery reparations?

    Fiery debate has erupted at the first congressional hearing in a decade to explore whether the descendants of US slaves should be compensated.

    Some witnesses said reparations would damage the relationship between white and black Americans, while others said it was imperative to achieve justice.

    Several Democratic White House hopefuls have taken up the idea of reparations.

    But Republican leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear no reparations bill will pass while he controls the Senate.

    The House of Representatives judiciary subcommittee on the constitution, civil rights and civil liberties said Wednesday’s hearing would examine “the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice”.

    Lawmakers considered a bill proposed by Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson-Lee to set up a commission to study the question of reparations for slavery.

    Hundreds of people lined up outside the hearing venue and filled the overflow room to watch.


  • David

    These gutless Democrats are just playing with Black people again.

    This is just a dog and pony show. If these people can’t stop the stinking cops from killing Black people, what else would they do?

    They are just not prepared to approach this matter with seriousness.

    In any event, Americans should be the last for us to look to.

    An independent tribunal would be a better judge. For America still insist on keeping all kinds of vestiges of the same slave architecture.


  • Greenie

    America has been wicked from the very beginning. Over 500 treaties with the native people violated, and continue to be today.

    Same thing with the JCPOA or Bar Jam as the Iranians call it.

    And false flag operations from 1619 till today. ‘Same difference’.

    Should they make a mistake with Iran, the world will know that America is as weak as a spider’s web.


  • ””””””’Iran is pushing US President Donald Trump to the edge of the abyss, raising the level of tensions to new heights in the Middle East. After the sabotage of four tankers at al-Fujairah and the attack on the Aramco pipeline a month ago, and last week’s attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC – now categorized by the USA as a terrorist body) yesterday shot down a US Navy drone, sending two clear messages. The first message is that Iran is ready for an all-out war, no matter what the consequences. The second message is that Iran is aware that the US President has cornered himself; the embarrassing attack came a week after Trump launched his electoral campaign.
    According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one, two or three clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.””””””


    See this gaming that Trump tried to pull, according to the Duran.

    Seems credible to us

    What says you!


  • @Pachamama

    Trump is not that stupid.


  • Tucker Carlson of Fox News spends first 15 minutes of his show after the Iran attack was called off laying some verbal licks in Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, along with the neoconservative (AKA neocon) movement’s prominent warmongers and the warmongering presstitutes (as Paul Craig Roberts refers to them) of main stream media.


  • Tucker Carlson criticizes Boldon but gives Trump a pass?


  • Tucker Carlson criticizes Boldon but gives Trump a pass?

    That is a good point. Some, not in the know, might wonder why Trump hired Bolton in the first place, as Bolton’s track record as a pro-war, shoot from the hip, neo-con warmonger was well established and very well known. Furthermore, if Bolton’s judgement is now found to be lacking in that his boss (Trump) finds his advise is unreliable, i.e. that the USA get involved in another unnecessary Middle Eastern war (which from past history in the region would likely turn into another trillion dollar plus quagmire, and in this specific case even a nuclear WWIII), Trump could theoretically also fire Bolton.

    However, Trump from his policies seems to be a follower of the neo-conservative doctrine himself. See the following video for an insight into the neo-cons’ view of the role of the USA as the world’s sole remaining superpower. They propose that the USA has a responsibility to bring about a more peaceful world by using its military might to protect Israel and to impose what has been described as a world wide “Pax Americana”, i.e. to establish a “benevolent” hegemonic control over the rest of the world.


  • Clarification on my post above at 9:30pm.

    When I wrote this:“However, Trump from his policies seems to be a follower of the neo-conservative doctrine himself.” It would have been more accurate to have written: However, Trump from his policies seems to be a follower of one very significant aspect of neo-conservative doctrine, the necessity for the USA to retain a strong military so it can acts as Israel’s protector plus use its power and influence to support Israeli government policies that are unpopular with other major democratic powers.

    For example, Trump supported the Netanyahu government’s position that Jerusalem should be the capital of the Israeli state by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and recently recognized Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights which the UN and most of the rest of the world still recognize as occupied Syrian territory. From his rhetoric at least, Trump does not seem to publicly support the neo-con belief that the US should overtly go about establishing a hegemonic control over the entire world with readiness to use military force to do so if necessary. Indeed Trump’s speeches while campaigning were all about his desire to keep the USA out of costly foreign military entanglements.

    However, I imagine when the news came out that Bolton was going to be appointed the US National Security Advisor, it went over very well with the USA’s very strong pro-Israel lobby and with the Netanyahu government in Israel.


  • I have been seeing rumours on the internet in recent weeks that Trump has actually been taking advice directly from Tucker Carlson on the best options for handling the ongoing tensions with Iran, and Carlson has been advising him to avoid military strikes on Iran which would almost certainly escalate into a wider and much more expensive and dangerous war.

    Tucker Carlson Stops War With Iran! Dems Upset.
    (FYI video contains swearing)


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