Town hall meeting on transparency, corruption, freedom of information moved


A town hall meeting to educate the public on advocacy concerning the topics of transparency, corruption and freedom of information has been moved to the Bahamas Historical Society.

The event, spearheaded by the environmental group Coalition to Save Clifton (CSC) will feature Matt Aubry, executive director of the Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG), as well as Fred Smith, the QC of Rights Bahamas.

It will start at 6pm in the Bahamas Historical Society Hall between Shirley Street and Elizabeth Avenue.


Mr Aubry yesterday said many activist groups like his organization and Save the Bays have been "fighting" for freedom of information "for a long time" and still possess the drive to move forward.

"The goal is (to address) how do we increase transparency and how do we further engage the citizenry in the governance of the country as a way of improving it, making it more representational and creating greater access to information," he said.

"We've recently got new information from the government as to steps toward enactment and we thought it was really important that we expanded the dialogue and the understanding from the public around what this issue is - where it is, what needs to happen and what we need to go forward," he continued.

Mr Aubry admitted even if enactment takes place, it could take a while for the government to respond and implement change.


Still, he insisted that occurrences "around the world" proved that a law is "only as good as its citizen's ability to understand and use it."

Mr Smith will address individual human rights, the Interception of Communications bill, as well as Right Bahamas' immigration work. Lemarque Campbell, chairman of Citizens for a Better Bahamas (CBB), will give a special presentation on the recent Bahamas Corruption Barometer Survey results.

Mr Aubry note the recent Corruption Perception Index released by CBB and Transparency International, which revealed that "almost as high as one in every ten Bahamians experienced a bribe or reported (a bribe)".

"It's an important topic to really engage The Bahamas on in how do we change this culture not only in the practice, but also in terms of our understanding our perception related to corruption... I think we see it as the beginning of a public dialogue.

"The hope is that there will be more that will come forward," he said.


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