FOI Officers End Study Tour In The US

A six-person delegation of Freedom of Information Officers, focal points and two officials from government ministries and agencies have ended a study tour in the United States on the implementation of the Freedom of Information law.

The delegation headed by Deputy Information Minister for Administration, Norris Tweah included Bong County Superintendent, Selena Polson Mappy, Education Ministry Information Officer Maxime Bleetahn, Center for National Documents and Records Agency, Information Officer, George WIliams, as well as the FOI focal points from the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation, Winston Jah and Finance Ministry Ralph Sonkarley.

The study tour funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was sponsored by The Carter Center Access to Information Initiative (ATI).

The officials and technicians studied freedom of information disclosure practices at federal institutions, including the Departments of Justice, Education, Office of Personnel Management, the US National Archives, and Office of Government Information Services among other agencies in Washington DC.

In Connecticut, the delegation visited the states Information Commission and watched its practices including the conduct of appeal hearings. The delegation also toured the Connecticut Legislature, and the Supreme Court.

At the legislature, the delegation held talks with representatives and senators on the legislative support for openness and at the court on what the judiciary was doing to promote transparency.

Deputy Information Minister Norris Tweah, who is the Government of Liberia Focal Point on the freedom of information law praised the USAID for the support and called for sustained support through the Carter Center.

Minister Tweah spoke upon arrival at the Roberts International Airport following his two weeks study tour.

The Carter Center with funding from USAID has been supporting the Government of Liberia through a pilot project of nine ministries and agencies to experiment the implementation of the Freedom of Information law.

Minister Tweah said there have been key steps taken toward implementing the Freedom of Information law, but the gains needed are sustained engagement to be consolidated.

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