Seychellois will soon have access to information, vice president says

Citizens of Seychelles will soon have access to information now that the Information Commission is in place, Vice President Vincent Meriton said in his message to mark the International Day for Universal Access to Information.
“I believe I can safely say now that the commission is in place and staff recruited that the full implementation of all aspects of the Seychelles’ access to information legislation is impending,” said Meriton.
A brief ceremony was hosted by the newly set up Information Commission on Friday at the International Conference Centre in Victoria, the island nation’s capital. The staff of the commission are Thereza Dogley as the chief executive, John Richardson as chief information commissioner and Antonio Lucas and Desire Payet as commissioners.
Meriton said that the access will allow citizens to question, investigate and consider whether public duties are being performed properly.
“As government we believe that access to information is a fundamental requirement for ensuring democratic participation, good and transparent conduct of public affairs, oversight by public opinion and civil society scrutiny,” he added.
Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, established an Information Commission created under section 54 of the Access to Information Act which was assented to by President Danny Faure in July last year.
“Despite being a key component of democratic governance many have experienced delays in putting together the necessary structures for full implementation of their Act even after they have passed the legislation,” Meriton said.  
On his side, Richardson said that towards the end of October or early November, the commission is expected to have specialist staff to do information audits on every public body and to investigate complaints.
The commission will be able to impose a fine not exceeding $1,831 (SCR25,000) in cases where the information officer refuses to receive an application or does not provide the information within the time frame.
Under the theme ‘Leaving No One Behind’, Seychelles joined the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day for Universal Access to Information on September 28.   
On this day member states organise activities to share ideas, strategies and success stories about the development of freedom of information laws and genuine transparent governance in their own nations.
Source: Seychelles News Agency