Parliament Passes Bill To Curb Leaks Of Sensitive Government Information

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Basseterre, St. Kitts –  In a landmark session on Monday, November 20, 2023, the Honourable Garth Wilkin, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, successfully led the debate on the Unauthorized Disclosure of Official Information Bill, 2023. The Bill, which focuses on preventing leaks of sensitive government information, was passed following extensive discussion in Parliament.
The Honourable Garth Wilkin, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs.

The Bill addresses a critical issue in the civil service – the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive government information. It establishes clear boundaries for government employees and contractors regarding the handling of confidential data, ensuring that such information is not stored in personal email accounts or disclosed outside the formal freedom of information process.

Attorney-General Wilkin expressed his views on the importance of the Bill.

“This Bill represents a pivotal step in safeguarding the integrity of our government. In frank and plain language Madame Speaker, a culture has developed in our civil service where there is no respect for the confidentiality of sensitive government information and documents,” said Attorney-General Wilkin.

The Unauthorized Disclosure of Official Information Bill, 2023, serves as a complementary piece to the Freedom of Information Act. While the Freedom of Information Act provides public access to non-sensitive government information, the new Bill ensures that confidential, privileged, and sensitive data is protected from unauthorized leaks.

AG Wilkin highlighted that the protection of sensitive government information is a standard practice not just locally but also globally. The Bill aligns St. Kitts and Nevis with international best practices in safeguarding crucial state information.

With the passage of this Bill, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis takes a significant step forward in reinforcing the legal framework surrounding the security and integrity of official information. It marks a pivotal moment in the nation’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its governance structures.

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