In early September 2022, news came that a new and “iconic” sign had been built in Negril.
There was much public discussion about the sign – its design and construction, whether it was a needed or appropriate addition to Negril, whether it would be the tourist attraction it was being promoted as.
The Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, spoke of the sign’s “creative and aesthetic appeal”, saying it was “artistically and carefully designed”.
Opposition Senator Damion Crawford said it looked like an “old time saving pan”.
A significant issue raised was its cost and whether it was value for money, at J$12 million.
Questions were asked about what contributed to that cost and I reminded that it was possible to get additional information under the Access to Information Act.
On September 12, 2022, I went ahead and made an Access to Information (ATI) request to the Ministry of Tourism and received an acknowledgment of my request from the Director of Documentation, Information and Access Services on the same day.
(The initial email I sent to the Ministry bounced back, so I called and got the correct current contact information and resent the request.)
Today (October 10, 2022) I received a follow up email granting access, with two documents attached:
- Breakdown of Cost for the Negril Welcome Sign
- Tender Report – Negril Sign
This was a very straightforward process, which isn’t always the case with ATI requests. I would encourage you to use the ATI Act for getting information, if you haven’t done so before. If you do, I hope your ATI story is as simple as this one.