Gambia: Access to Information Act 2021 – Responsibility of Govt Executives

Government officials last Friday completed a four-day training on the Access to Information Act 2021 at the Management Development Institute MDI, Kanifing.

The training was designed to enable executive members of various institutions to understand what Access to Information is all about.

It would be recalled that the Access to Information Act 2021 was passed and part of that law is that people should have access to information from public institutions.

Understanding the law, Muhammed B. Sowe, Senior State Counsel, Attorney General’s Chambers & Ministry of Justice of The Gambia, who also took them through the training, explained that the law plays a key role in access to information and those responsible will be the ones request for information will be made to and they will take the decision whether to release it or not.

The training, he added, expose them to various provisions of the Act as well as international standards with reference to cases from other countries and the challenges they encounter.

“For a long time, Gambia has had a problem with freedom of expression.” he stated.

He observed that most government institutions feel reluctant to release information because of the fear that when information lands in the hands of citizens it may harm the government.

Now that the Act is here, counsel Sowe said it eases the burden on those providing information and those receiving it.

Buba Badjie, communication and Public Relations Supervisor at the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC), said the training added value to his work.

He acknowledged that the knowledge gained would help him smoothen his work with journalists and the public at large.

He promised, upon request that his institution is willing to provide the information needed.

Deputizing for the Director General of Management Development Institute (MDI), Sillah Conateh, programme coordinator at the Institute, thanked partners for their contributions and efforts towards the training.

Training of this nature, he observed, should not be limited to heads of Institutions only.

“Board members and junior staff should also be encouraged to attend such educative pieces of training to enhance their understanding.”

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