JET cleared for court

Goat Island in the Portland Bight Protected Area

THE Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) announced Wednesday that it had got leave from the Supreme Court to challenge the decision of the minister of finance and planning to make agreements and proposals on the proposed trans-shipment port at Goat Islands exempt from public disclosure.

JET has previously reported that, using the Access to Information Act, it has sought to access the Memorandum of Understanding between CHEC and the Port Authority from several agencies of Government, including the finance ministry and the Port Authority of Jamaica. It was, however, denied on the basis that there were “commercial and confidential reasons”.

It is that decision which it is now seeking to challenge in court.

“On January 22, 2014, the minister of finance and planning issued a certificate of exemption purporting to exempt these documents from public disclosure, claiming that premature disclosure would or could have a substantial effect on the economy,” JET said in a statement to the media.

Attorneys for the minister and the Port Authority did not contest JET’s application for the court’s permission. The minister is represented by the Attorney General and the Port Authority by Dr Lloyd Barnett. JET is being represented by Hugh Small, QC.

At the next hearing date on June 18, 2014, the court will make orders for the filing of the application.
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