NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (May 08, 2018) — The following is the full text of remarks delivered by Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis at the launch of the Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) revamped Website on May 02, 2018, at the Social Security Building at Pinney’s Estate during the Department of Information Technology’s annual week of activities.
I am indeed proud to be part of this significant event. It marks a giant step in the Government’s efforts to improve efficiency and transparency. The launch of this new website is geared towards advancing open, transparent government, and to improve the way Government operates.
History has taught us that the world has been through a number of developmental revolutions. We went through the Agriculture Revolution, Industrial Revolution, and we are presently in the Information Revolution.
This launch signifies and gives credence to the idea that the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) has embraced the Information revolution and is advancing a culture of pro disclosure of information.
This morning, we are realizing our ambitions and agenda of making government’s information more accessible and usable.
This website will help persons to understand that Government is much bigger that its parliamentarians and bureaucrats. It has the ability to draw persons closer to Government and make them more intimate with the government’s policies, projects, rules and regulations.
The launch of this new website also means that Government information will be routinely and proactively made available in expectation of the public’s demand.
For far too long we, and I mean politicians and public servants, have cultivated a deep and reflexive mistrust regarding the release of information. In the past, we saw it as exposing ourselves to unwarranted criticism and unwanted scrutiny. For us in the NIA, this phobia is a thing of the past.
On April 24, 2018, the NIA had the first reading of its Freedom of Information Act and on Thursday, May, 03, 2018, the Federal Government will also have its final reading. The launch of our new website pushes the Freedom of Information agenda, it advances the Government’s pro disclosure culture.
With this new website, all Nevisians will be able to receive maximum practicable access to public information. Our people are too smart, too intelligent, to literate not to have free and unlimited access to Government’s information.
Totalitarianism and dictatorship thrive on keeping their people in the dark. By denying them access to information and cultivating ignorance they are able to further their oppressive and corrupt political agenda.
Democracy on the other hand, despises and discourages ignorance. It embraces knowledge and the free-flow of information. One of the tenants of democracy is that an informed electorate makes better and wiser decisions in choosing their leaders.
Information, therefore, is the water and fertilizer that causes democracy to germinate, grow and bloom. If this new website means that the NIA will be closer and have deeper contact with the public; if this morning is a sign that my Government is ushering in a new era of transparency and openness, then all Nevisians will benefit and so too will our democracy.
At this juncture, let me once again publicly applaud and commend Mr. Quincy Prentice and his team at the Information Technology Department for creating this new and much improved website. Mr. Prentice and his team continues to build a culture of online innovation within the Government.
I trust that this website, will maximize the extent to which the Government and the general public interact and engage online and will augment our ability to transmit information in all its forms to the general public.