VIDEO: Acting Speaker Respicio Proposes FOIA Council Claiming Calvo Administration “Shrouded in Dark Secrecy”

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Guam –  In the Speaker’s Weekly Address this week, Acting Speaker Rory Respicio announces that he has introduced a legislative Rules Resolution that would create the Guam Legislative Freedom of Information Advisory Council.

The Council  will have 12 members,  including the Attorney General, representatives of the media, the legislature, and representatives from the executive and judicial branches of GovGuam.

HEAR Acting Speaker Respicio’s Address HERE>>>3-11-13 acting speakers address.mp3  

Senator Respicio says the aim of  the Council  will be to “encourage and facilitate compliance with the Freedom of Information Act”. He says it will be active within a month.

The Senator says that such a council is necessary because “truthfulness in accurate reporting is nearly non-existent from some agencies especially when it comes to public finances. Government employees are scared to speak up. Whistleblowers are retaliated against.”

Respicio accuses the Calvo Administration of being “ shrouded in dark secrecy like no other time before in the history of our island’ and he says the Administration’s “tales of transparency are really nothing more than political rhetoric”

READ Acting Speaker Respicio’s Address below:

Acting Speaker Rory J. Respicio’s Weekly Radio Address
For Release – March 11, 2014

Hafa Adai I’m Rory Respicio. Lately we have heard this Administration publicly pat themselves on the back for their alleged increase in transparency in Government.

Unfortunately, their tales of transparency are really nothing more than political rhetoric. In reality, our government is shrouded in dark secrecy like no other time before in the history of our island. Residents are being denied basic public information. Senators are facing the same situation when trying to access information from our Administration. Truthfulness in accurate reporting is nearly non-existent from some agencies especially when it comes to public finances. Government employees are scared to speak up. Whistleblowers are retaliated against.

As Acting Speaker of the Legislature I say it is time we shine the light back on our government. Just yesterday I introduced a legislative Rules Resolution creating the Guam Legislative Freedom of Information Advisory Council as an advisory council in the legislative branch to encourage and facilitate compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.

The Council shall consist of 12 members including the Attorney General of Guam, representatives of the media, the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government as well as members of the General Public. Within one month this Council will be in place and will offer our people more access to their government.

Currently, the only option for a citizen of Guam who feels an agency is not being forthright with public documents is to get an attorney and file a lawsuit. Under the new Freedom of Information Council, a member of the public can seek redress from the council. Also the council will identify which government of Guam agencies are not in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Government Law and they will issue advisories and opinions. The Council also will provide public training on the local Sunshine laws and will publish documents and guidelines as needed. They will also review all local Sunshine laws and make suggestions for changes in legislation to make our government more open and transparent to the people of Guam.

For too long our people have suffered under the lack of transparency provided by the current administration. This Council will serve as the first step toward returning the government to the people of Guam and not just a select few. After all, true freedom of information is the oxygen that fuels our democracy. Our people need this information to make informed decisions about their own lives and as leaders we must always protect and
defend our public’s right to know.