Response to a letter on government transparency, September 2012.
1: Do you agree agendas and reports of government committees, including ExCo and LegCo, should be published on the SHG website, in advance of meetings? And that minutes should also be published?
Answer: Council Committees have already started to open up committee meeting where it is possible to do and advertise via local radio, the minutes are also published via the website after they have been confirmed. Not sure about the necessity of being on the website prior to the meeting as the majority of islanders, including myself, would not got the internet on a daily basis looking for this type of information. Legco meetings are always open to the public, Exco meetings have open & closed agendas I believe. Public attendance very poor I believe!
2. Do you agree ExCo meetings should be open to the public and media, except where this would, for instance, compromise commercial sensitivity or the confidentiality of individuals?
Answer: I understand this to be the case, but final decision I believe to be that of HE.
3: Other UK overseas territories have adopted Freedom of Information legislation, to improve governance and serve voters better. Do you think St Helena should now discuss the possibility of introducing a Freedom of Information Ordinance?
Answer: John, whilst the idea seems commendable, I have only heard of the topic and have no knowledge of the content/implications of the Freedom of Information Act. I do have reservations about committing scare financial resources to anything that yields no material benefits in these times of scarcity.
There is a limit as to how much information is put into the public arena like St Helena because of possible personality clashes. I have personal experience of standing my ground on certain issues which wasn’t accepted. If the voters believe firmly in their ideals, then please encourage them to meet with Councillors and together we could make a plan.