MP Lewis Files Freedom of Information Requests on Three Ministries and WIOC Seeking Answers on the Gaston Browne III Rental

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room
Richard LEWIS

MP Lewis Files Freedom of Information Requests on Three Ministries and WIOC Seeking Answers on the Gaston Browne III Rental

Gaston Browne continues to run from accountability and transparency, and has refused to provide credible answers to the public’s questions on Government’s rental of his son’s Friars Hill Road property.

In response, as promised, MP Richard Lewis has delivered 4 letters under the Freedom of Information Act, formally requesting answers and documentation from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Urban Renewal, the Ministry of Works, and the West Indies Oil Company.

The information requested includes records on the manner of WIOC’s sale of the property, records of all rent payments, and expenditures to repair and upgrade the property, the re-negotiated lease terms (agreed to after the expiration of the initial 18-month term), the tendering process, and correspondence between the property owner, the ministries and WIOC.

The letters, delivered on April 2, 2024, were also copied to the Information Commissioner, who is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act, which requires a prompt response, within twenty (20) working days of receipt of the request.

The Freedom of Information Act, which is part of a trilogy of integrity legislation the UPP Administration introduced in 2004, facilitates the right of the public to have access to information held by public authorities.

This ensures that Government and government-controlled entities can be held accountable.

MP Lewis states, “Given the Prime Minister’s boasts about his government’s transparency, I expect that the requested information will be furnished quickly, without any attempts made to frustrate senior public servants in the fulfillment of their duties under the Act.”

He further states, “The public has a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent.  And they are particularly concerned right now, while they are suffering under the Gaston-led government’s high cost of living, with no meaningful relief.  I will continue to utilize freedom of information requests, as the need arises, to ensure Government’s transparency and accountability, in keeping with the principles of good governance.”

Richard S. Lewis MP

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