I was flabbergasted by Faris Al-Rawi’s reported rationale for attempting at short notice and like a thief in the night, to fiddle with and to stymie the public’s access to information from elected politicians who ought to see themselves as temporary employees of the people. He advanced—as he is wont to do—the logical fallacy, that by subjecting every Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to an insufferably lengthy waiting period, by his estimation the State would “save millions”.

What an egregious, necrotic, and cancerous argument! It is the opposite that is true! If he and his cohorts were honest and forthright and were imbued with a world-view that prioritised truth and integrity, he would seek to shorten rather than extend the time allowed to respond to queries succinctly and honestly—and not wish to take six months to provide a cryptic and often dishonest reply to legitimate questions from the public.

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In fact, if Mr Al-Rawi was truly interested in saving the State a pile of money on account of the refractory (PNM) habit of recalcitrant dishonesty and mafia-like secrecy which that party imposes upon public institutions, he should have tabled an amendment that binds a responsible minister—and neither the Cabinet nor the Government —personally liable to a claimant for misbehaviour regarding the FOIA.

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