Jamaican Justice Ministry:
Searching for Gay Violence Files
(A Jamaican transgender person under attack by a mob, April 2007.)
Such words set my "government sunshine" heart aflutter, and I yesterday filed several ATI requests with various Jamaican ministries, asking for records related to violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, or persons perceived as such, stretching back to January 2004.
So far, only the Ministry of Justice, has acknowledged receipt of the request and begun processing it. Here is some of the correspondence I've had with Ms. Brenda Smith, the Information Manager for this ministry:
This serves to acknowledge receipt of your application for access to documents held within the Justice portfolio. Please be advised that the request will be treated in accordance with the guidelines for administering the Act.I'm waiting for equivalent acknowledgments from the other ministries and expect to have them by the end of the week.
You will be advised on the progress of your application hereafter. The legal team will direct, so if there is need for clarification we will continue to communicate with you.
A similar request was sent to the British Foreign Office yesterday, and one of their information officers, Mr. Henry Leitch, sent this note:
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request. It has been passed to the relevant section within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to deal with. They will be in touch with you should your request need clarification.I want to see what records the Jamaican and British governments locate responsive to my ATI and FOIA requests, how they take to process them and what, if anything, they eventually release. And let us all give thanks for every ATI and FOIA statute on the books around the planet, and let's utilize such sunhine laws to pry loose any and all records related to the suffering of gay people.
We received your request on the 20th October 2009 and will aim to respond within 20 working days.