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Freedom of Information Act (No. 6 of 2018)
The Freedom of Information Act makes provisions for the disclosure of information held by public bodies or by persons providing services for them for connected purposes in Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Right to access information (Sections 4 and 5)
Every person shall have the right to freedom of information, including the right to access information held by public bodies, subject to the provisions of this Act.
A person making a request for information to a public body shall be entitled: (a) to be informed whether or not the public body holds a record containing that information or from which that information may be derived; and (b) if the public body does hold such a record, to have that information communicated to him or her.
Obligated entities (Section 7)
A public body includes any body established by or under the Constitution; established by Statue; which forms part of any level or branch of Government; owned, controlled or substantially financed by funds provided by Government or the State; or carrying out a statutory or public function. The Minister may designate as a public body any body that carries out a public function.
Time limits to provide the information (Section 10)
A public body must respond to a request for information as soon as is reasonably possible and in any event within thirty working days of receipt of the request. Where a request for information relates to information which reasonably appears to be necessary to safeguard the life or liberty of a person, a response must be provided within seven days. A public body may, by notice in writing within the initial twenty day period, extend the period to the extent necessary, and in any case to not more than forty working days, where the request is for a large number of records or requires a search through a large number of records, and where compliance within twenty working days would unreasonably interfere with the activities of the public body. Failure to comply with this section shall be deemed to be a refusal of the request.
Active transparency (Section 18)
Every public body shall, in the public interest, publish and disseminate in an accessible form, at least annually, key information including but not limited to a description of its structure, functions, duties and finances; relevant details concerning any services it provides directly to members of the public; any direct request or complaint mechanism available to members of the public regarding acts or a failure to act by that body; a simple guide containing adequate information about its record-keeping systems; a description of the powers and duties of its senior officers, and the procedure it follows in making decisions; any regulations, policies, rules, guides or manuals regarding the discharge by that body of its functions; the content of all decisions and policies it has adopted which affect the public, along with the reasons for them; and any mechanisms or procedures by which members of the public may make representations or otherwise influence the formulation of policy or the exercise of powers by the public body.
Appeal procedures (Sections 42, 43 and 46)
A person who has made a request for information may apply to the Commissioner for a decision that a public body has failed to comply with. The commissioner shall decide an application as soon as reasonably possible, and in any case within 30 days, after giving both the complainant and the relevant public body an opportunity to provide their views in writing. The complainant, or the relevant public body, may, within 28 days, appeal to the court for a full review of a decision of the Commissioner. In any appeal from a decision made pursuant to section 43, the burden of proof shall be on the public body to show that it acted in accordance with its obligations.