Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act of 1999 (FOIA) was assented to on November 4, 1999. It came into effect on February 20, 2001. 

Object of Act( As Set out in Section 3(1) & (2))

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 by –

(a) making available to the public information about the operations of public authorities and, in particular, ensuring that the authorizations, policies, rules and practices affecting members of the public in their dealings with public authorities are readily available to persons affected by those authorizations, policies, rules and practices; and

(b) creating a general right of access to information in documentary form in the possession of public authorities limited only by exceptions and exemptions necessary for the protection of essential public interests and the private and business affairs of persons in respect of whom information is collected and held by public authorities.

 (2) The provisions of this Act shall be interpreted so as to further the object set out in subsection (1) and any discretion conferred by this Act shall be exercised as far as possible so as to facilitate and promote, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost, the disclosure of  information.

The FOIA extends to all members of the public the right to seek access to information about or in the possession of public authorities. The Act is designed to achieve this object in two ways. First, Sections 7, 8 and 9 require that information about the structure and operations of public authorities, their policies, rules and practices, and the documents in their possession, be published. Then, through Part III, the Act creates a right of access, with some exemptions, to official documents held by public authorities.

Additional rights are also conferred through the FOIA. These include the right of an individual to request corrections to personal information held by a public authority; the right to be advised of reasons for refusals of FOIA requests; and the right to challenge such decisions, by complaint to the Ombudsman or through application for judicial review.  

More about the FOIA can be found on http://www.foia.gov.tt/

The FOIA request form can be downloaded here

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